Qualcomm's reach keeps extending further into the auto industry.
The company recently unveiled its latest collaboration with General Motors, much of it surrounding chips that will underpin vehicle cockpits of the future, which are increasingly dominated by screens.
Most of the attention at Qualcomm's Jan. 26-27 virtual automotive showcase was devoted to this singular aspect of the partnership, in which the chips will run infotainment features and driver-assist functionality. But that made it easy to overlook the expanding scope of the overall Qualcomm-GM relationship.
From driver-assist systems to infotainment features to cellular vehicle-to-everything, or C-V2X, deployments, the car maker and chip supplier are increasing their work together across a number of next-generation fronts. A new era of centralized vehicle architectures and increasing computing horsepower requires wider cooperation, Qualcomm says.
The expanded GM partnership is a model Qualcomm would like to highlight as a chief example of how it intends to work with other auto makers and Tier 1 suppliers. That was made clear at the virtual event, called Automotive Redefined.
"Automotive Redefined wasn't so much an event as an earthquake," Colin Barnden, Semicast Research principal analyst, told Automotive News. "What we saw was Qualcomm signaling a clear priority for AI to both make human drivers into safer drivers and also to enhance the in-cabin user experience."
Qualcomm works with 20 auto makers around the globe, and 150 million vehicles containing its modems are on the road, according to Nakul Duggal, the company's senior vice president and general manager of its automotive division.
Although the company's foray into the auto industry was first premised on its chips, they are not a sole focus now.
"We're not just focused on the silicon, but everything around the silicon," he said. "The AI, application stacks, services. The auto industry is changing inside out. The car is changing. The definition of a transportation network is changing. The software that defines the car is changing."