Qualcomm has been working on creating advanced autonomous driving solutions for many years in its headquarter. After years in virtual silence, Qualcomm has finally unveiled at CES 2020 what it has been working on, taking further leaps in self-driving technology.
Snapdragon Ride, as the company revealed, is a full system that can power self-driving cars. Moreover, it can handle everything from lane controls to autonomous driving. The company aims to have it on the road by 2023.
Qualcomm has made its mark as one of the world’s biggest mobile phone chip suppliers. Based on San Diego, the company has also been a major automotive supplier for more than a decade. It has had its ups and downs and legal battles, but it has always managed to woo the users.
And now, Qualcomm primarily supplies modem chips that allow vehicles to connect to the internet. Moreover, these chips provide an infotainment system to power screens that are already inside the car.
About Snapdragon Ride
The Qualcomm Snapdragon Ride is a car-based system that provides Level 1 (parking assistance) to Level 5 (no human driver whatsoever) autonomy. Apart from that, what’s interesting about this computer is its size. Surprisingly, this powerful computer can fit your palm and doesn’t need any cooling system to prevent overheating.
Patrick Little, senior vice president at Qualcomm, said that the company is using the expertise it gained from its mobile phone processor business. Further, he said they are developing powerful processors that consume very little electricity and generate low heat.
“Many of these cars have a supercomputer in the back. It looks like your kid’s gaming PC,” Patrick Little revealed. “Now imagine you’re putting that in the trunk of an electric vehicle. Now your range anxiety is just doubled.”
How Snapdragon Ride works
Qualcomm has broken the system into various hardware and software components. These components can be sized based on the automakers’ needs. A smaller component can handle simple tasks like lane control. Additionally, various components form a full self-driving system. The vice president said Qualcomm tested the system in San Diego roads to build their self-driving software algorithms.
Since there are lots of variables present in a busy road, the system does require lots of data inputs. So, the vehicle will have eight cameras and six radars at key positions like side-view mirrors, hood, trunk, etc. The system then gathers information from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), Controller Area Network (CAN), and other systems.
After then, the system combines all the data with the data collected directly from the car. At this point, Snapdragon Ride downloads an HD map of the route. The system uses all data on the map to plan the route, locations, throttling, braking, and so on.
Additionally, the system also predicts what other cars might do, using Snapdragon Ride’s powerful processor. It maps out all the possible trajectories of the vehicles that are within the camera range.
Qualcomm is presently working with other auto manufacturers to bring these systems to consumer cars as soon as possible. They plan to have their systems in the market by 2023, so they are approaching all the automakers they can.
Given that the system can operate accurately, this is going to revolutionalize transportation as we know it. Will we or will we not need a license to “drive” cars in the future? Is taking a nap peacefully without getting into an accident going to be possible? Only time will tell.
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