The next-generation semi-autonomous driving platform from General Motors will use Qualcomm’s new SnapDragon Ride high performance automotive compute chip, which the company debuted at CES 2020 in Las Vegas this week.
Qualcomm already provides chips to GM to power its dashboard electronics, location tracking and driver assistance systems, but with this announcement, the partnership will expand to include chips for autonomous driving systems. The partnership will also see Qualcomm provide new chips to GM to power future digital cockpit solutions, the companies said.
“As we enter a new era of innovation built on high performance low power compute and AI, we are very pleased to be expanding our decade long partnership with GM to the digital cockpit and ADAS systems,” said Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon. “We are extremely proud that our longstanding relationship and work with GM can serve as an example of how Qualcomm Technologies works with leaders in the automotive industry to define the future of smart and connected vehicles.”
Qualcomm’s SnapDragon Ride chip serves as a rival to other self-driving vehicle platforms from companies like Nvidia. The company demonstrated the capabilities of the chip at the show, Forbes reports, showing a video of a Lincoln MKZ outfitted with an array of six SnapDragon chips successfully navigating a highway on-ramp and off-ramp.
It’s not yet clear which vehicles GM plans to use the Qualcomm chip in. The automaker said it would be used to power next-generation ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), so it seems as though this could be for an evolved version of Cadillac Super Cruise. The Qualcomm SnapDragon chip can enable SAE Level 2 and Level 3 semi-automated driving.
Super Cruise and Tesla Autopilot are Level 2 systems, requiring the driver’s full attention, whereas a Level 3 system allows the driver to look away from the road, but also requires them to be alert should the vehicle require human intervention. GM and Qualcomm also said SnapDragon will reach production in a GM vehicle by 2023, so we won;t have to wait long to see the fruits of this partnership.