Snapdragon cockpit
Qualcomm released this concept image of a vehicle with its “Snapdragon Cockpit.” Courtesy of the company

Qualcomm announced deals Tuesday to supply chips to automakers Volvo, Honda and Renault, accelerating its push to partner with legacy automotive firms digitizing their product lines.

The San Diego-based wireless pioneer known for its mobile phone chips has created a range of automotive offerings, from self-driving car brains to chips that operate digital dashboards and infotainment systems.

The chips are all aimed at helping automakers transform their vehicles into rolling computers that can be updated over the air with paid upgrades that generate revenue for carmakers long after a vehicle has left dealer lots in a business model pioneered by Tesla.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Qualcomm said it has reached a deal with Volvo to use Qualcomm’s “Snapdragon Cockpit” chips and an operating system from Google in vehicles starting later this year.

The deal will allow Volvo’s electric SUV, which is to begin production this year, to tap into hands-free use of Google Assistant and navigation with Google Maps. The companies said that future upgrades will be sent out over the air.

Honda will start using Qualcomm’s “cockpit” chips in vehicles that will hit roads in 2023, and French automaker Renault has agreed to use Qualcomm’s automotive technology as well.

Qualcomm also said it has created a new chip and system for computer vision, which uses cameras on the car and artificial intelligence to help with safety functions like automatic lane control.

The new “Snapdragon Ride Vision System” uses software from Arriver, which was part of Qualcomm’s $4.5 billion purchase of automotive technology firm Veoneer last year.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.