Following the news that semiconductor giant Qualcomm will supply a key computing chip for the digital dashboard in a new Renault electric vehicle (EV) Megane E-TECH Electric; Bakar Sadik Agwan, Senior Automotive Consulting Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“Earlier this year, Qualcomm extended its partnership with General Motors with regards to digital cockpits, next-gen telematics and ADAS development. The OEM would deploy Qualcomm’s third generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms in its upcoming vehicles.
“While Qualcomm is not new to the automotive sector and has been supplying several products for nearly two decades, the industry’s acceleration of its move from providing the mechanical devices of yesteryear to the future ‘computers on wheels’ has led to more value-creating activities and opportunities for the company in the automotive sector.
“Growing cellular connectivity in cars is set to offer a significant boost to Qualcomm’s auto business. Furthermore, the expansion of the automotive business and the resultant increase in the supply of semiconductors will support the industry, which has been witnessing production losses due to chips shortages.
“Qualcomm - better known for its cockpit, infotainment and telematics products in the auto business - aims to deepen its presence in future mobility solutions that revolve around connected, electric and autonomous technology. With its new broad automotive strategy ‘Automotive Redefined’ announced earlier this year, the company aims to intensify product development in the cockpit, connected, autonomous, infotainment, electric charging infrastructure and other subsystems in automotive.
“Qualcomm wants to be what ‘Android is to smartphones’, i.e., an open platform provider, with qualified software partners, that can serve a large range of applications rather than developing its own software for each system. The company presently supplies infotainment and digital cockpits products to 19 automakers globally and has a hefty order pipeline – nearly US$10bn. Further strategic focus on the automotive sector is set to offer competitive benefits and level up Qualcomm in the automotive value chain.
“During COVID-19, most semiconductor manufacturers diverted supply to other industries, given the dwindling manufacturing and supply in the auto industry. However, with the existing supply-demand mismatch, it is required that semiconductor companies – largely catering to other industries – develop their capabilities in automotive and tap the existing opportunities in the market.”