Qualcomm announces new automotive partnerships with Mercedes-Benz and Red Hat

Qualcomm announces new automotive partnerships with Mercedes-Benz and Red Hat

As part of today’s first Auto Investor Day, Qualcomm
QCOM
Announced new partnerships with Mercedes-Benz and Red Hat
RHT
. Qualcomm has moved aggressively in recent years to diversify its business beyond mobile devices with vehicles seen as a major hunting ground and is already making great inroads.

In 2021, Qualcomm generated nearly $11 billion in revenue, of which about $350 million was for automobiles, mostly for cellular modems that provide connectivity as well as some Snapdragon processors that power infotainment systems. On the company’s 2021 Investors Day, CEO Cristiano Amon set a goal of $3.5 billion in auto revenue for 2026 and $8 billion by 2031. With announcements made since then, the chip design company is well on its way, particularly winning business away from intel
INTC
A subsidiary company, Mobileye.

Earlier this year, GM began using the Qualcomm Snapdragon Ride platform to power the Cadillac Lyriq’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and will expand use of Qualcomm silicon to other models from 2023. BMW and Volkswagen also announced a turnaround From Mobileye to Qualcomm on new models beginning in 2025. Stellantis has also chosen Qualcomm digital chassis rigs to power the new cab systems it is developing with Foxconn.

The latest ads focus on the software defined vehicle area. Mercedes-Benz will adopt Qualcomm Snapdragon chips in the cockpit to power its next-generation infotainment systems. This marks a shift away from the Nvidia that Mercedes used in its current MBUX system. The first Mercedes cars with a Qualcomm digital cockpit will be launched in 2023

The other announcement today is a partnership with IBM
IBM
owned by Red Hat for integrating the company’s open source in-vehicle operating system with Qualcomm’s digital chassis systems. This marks Red Hat’s second entry into the automotive field this year. Earlier, General Motors announced that it will use Red Hat as the primary operating system for its upcoming Ultifi software platform. While GM will use Qualcomm to power its infotainment and ADAS systems on upcoming vehicles, it is unknown if the Ultifi will run on the Snapdragon platform.

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Like Nvidia announcing its new Thor system on a chip to power its central computing platforms for SDVs, Qualcomm is targeting the same market but with a slightly different approach. Nvidia has developed a single giant chip to power all the computational needs of a vehicle. Right now, Qualcomm is taking a more scalable approach with multiple chips running on blades in a central account box. This allows the automaker to scale the system according to their own needs and potentially lowers costs. It remains to be seen which approach will ultimately win, but Jeremiah Goulston, Senior Vice President and Head of Automotive Engineering doesn’t rule out introducing more highly integrated chips in the future.

Right now, Qualcomm and Red Hat are focused on developing a secure, safety-rated platform that automakers can integrate into their vehicles. The two companies plan to have the first versions of a pre-integrated suite of Red Hat’s in-vehicle operating system with Snapdragon Ride and Snapdragon Cockpit available for testing in the second half of 2023.

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