Commercial launch expected in 2022
Qualcomm on Tuesday unveiled its fourth-generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms.
The new chipset for automobile comes two years after the third-generation was launched back in January 2019.
Previous dashboards of cars showed only the speed, fuel and driving information but Qualcomm’s platform is a digital solution for autonomous and connected cars, Nakul Duggal, senior vice president and general manager of automotive for Qualcomm, said at the company’s virtual conference for the unveiling.
Cockpit Platforms allow for voice command, in-car payment system, car insurance service and biometric sensors that prevent drivers from dozing off, Duggal said.
They are are engineered as a homogenous and multipurpose solution to address this “transition to a zonal architecture,” serving as a central hub for high-performance compute, computer vision, artificial intelligence (AI) and multi-sensor processing with a flexible software configuration to address the compute, performance and functional safety needs for that zone or domain, Qualcomm said.
The platforms are designed to provide software scalability and flexibility with support for several operating systems in hypervisor and container software configurations, the company said.
This supports multiple engine control units (ECUs) and domain consolidation, including cluster and cockpit, augmented reality heads-up-display (AR-HUD), infotainment, rear seat displays, mirror replacement (e-Mirror) and in-cabin monitoring services, the US chip giant said.
It also provides video processing capabilities to integrate drive recording and surveillance functionality. These new platforms use the same software architecture and framework across all tiers, reducing development complexity and commercialization time, while minimizing maintenance costs for automakers for a harmonized user experience independent of the vehicle tier, Qualcomm said.
The platforms uses sixth-generation Kryo CPU, multi-core AI Engine Hexagon Processor, sixth-generation Adreno GPU and Spectra Image Signal Processor. They are manufactured using 5nm process. Kryo CPU has been designed to support virtual machine. Adreno GPU offers 3D graphic visualization. Up to 16 high-resolution camera can be inputted. Using Ethernet can add even more cameras.
The AI engine provides a system capable of constant learning and adapting to the occupant’s preferences, limited not only to media or infotainment content but also to vehicle controls such as seat and mirror positioning, HVAC and per seat personalized climate bubbles, audio content and volume preferences and providing the driver with an interface that is attuned to his/her preferences and the vehicle ambience, Qualcomm said.
Qualcomm also offers car-to-cloud with soft SKU capabilities, allowing the end-consumer to have the latest features and capabilities through over-the-air (OTA) updates post-deployment and throughout the lifecycle of the vehicle. The platforms support Amazon's Alexa, for which the company will provide software development kit for.
The platforms also offer contextual awareness for intelligent and distraction free driver assistance systems, including in-cabin monitoring, child and occupant detection and ultra-HD surround view monitoring with object detection for roadside safety. Using the AI Engine and ISP blocks, the platforms are designed to also allow for in-cabin and external camera integration, providing the infrastructure to ensure the safety and comfort of the occupants. The safety infrastructure extends across the key compute blocks and is augmented by an integrated safety manager to provide the higher automotive safety integrity levels (ASIL) needed for domain consolidation. The platforms support Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, Snapdragon Telematics and C-2VX.
Out of 25 global automotive companies, 20 has chosen Qualcomm’s Cockpit Platforms, Duggal said. Qualcomm will continue to collaborate with automotive manufacturers and tier-1 companies in telematics, infotainment and connected cars, the SVP said. Some of the company’s partners include General Motors, LG Electronics, Harman, Continental, Google, QNX and Panasonic.
Samples of the fourth-generation Cockpit Platforms will be supplied in the second quarter. Commercial launch is expected in 2022.