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Qualcomm Autonomous Driving Platform Combines SoC and AI

Qualcomm Technologies unveiled a new autonomous driving solution at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week that combines its Snapdragon family of automotive systems-on-chip (SoCs) with a purpose-built software stack.

The company is calling its Snapdragon Ride Platform "one of the automotive industry's most advanced, scalable and open autonomous driving solutions."

The platform was designed to address the complexity of autonomous driving and Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) by leveraging Qualcomm's hardware, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and autonomous driving software. The platform comprises the Snapdragon Ride Safety SoCs, the Snapdragon Ride Safety Accelerator and the Snapdragon Ride Autonomous Stack.

By combining Snapdragon Ride SoCs, accelerator and autonomous stack, Qualcomm is able to offer automakers a scalable solution designed to support three industry segments: L1/L2 Active Safety ADAS for vehicles that include automatic emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition and lane keeping assist functions; L2+ Convenience ADAS for vehicles featuring Automated Highway Driving, Self-Parking and Urban Driving in Stop-and-Go traffic; and L4/L5 Fully Autonomous Driving for autonomous urban driving, robo-taxis and robo-logistics.

Qualcomm's ADAS SoCs and accelerators are built to support heterogeneous compute capabilities designed for application requirements. They're designed to manage a large amount of data from onboard systems, leveraging Qualcomm's next generation AI engines, image signal processors for camera sensors, enhanced digital signal processors (DSPs) for sensor signal processing, high performance CPUs for planning and decision making, the latest GPU technology for high-end visualization and immersive user experience, and dedicated safety and security subsystems across the SoC and autonomous driving accelerator.

Through the autonomous driving accelerator, Qualcomm brings energy efficient compute capabilities to mainstream vehicles, the company said, "which has so far been largely unavailable to the automotive industry because of exceptionally complex and expensive thermal solutions that are fundamentally unscalable because of their power consumption requirements."

"We've spent the last several years researching and developing our new autonomous platform and accompanying driving stack, identifying challenges and gathering insights from data analysis to address the complexities automakers want to solve," said Nakul Duggal, SVP of Qualcomm's product management group, in a statement.

Of particular interest to developers in this announcement is the purpose-built autonomous driving software stack, a modular and scalable solution the company is providing to automotive OEM and tier-1 suppliers. The software stack includes optimized software and applications for complex use cases, such as self-navigating human-like highway driving, as well as choice of modular options, such as perception, localization, sensor fusion and behavior planning. This software infrastructure supports customer-specific stack components that would be co-hosted with the Snapdragon Ride Autonomous Stack components.

Snapdragon Ride is expected to be available for pre-development to automakers and tier-1 suppliers in the first half of 2020.  Qualcomm Technologies anticipates Snapdragon Ride-enabled vehicles to be in production in 2023.

Technologies unveiled a new autonomous driving solution at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week that combines its Snapdragon family of automotive systems-on-chip (SoCs) with a purpose-built software stack. The company is calling its Snapdragon Ride Platform "one of the automotive industry's most advanced, scalable and open autonomous driving solutions."

The platform was designed to address the complexity of autonomous driving and Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) by leveraging Qualcomm's hardware, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and autonomous driving software. The platform comprises the Snapdragon Ride Safety SoCs, the Snapdragon Ride Safety Accelerator and the Snapdragon Ride Autonomous Stack.

By combining Snapdragon Ride SoCs, accelerator and autonomous stack, Qualcomm is able to offer automakers a scalable solution designed to support three industry segments: L1/L2 Active Safety ADAS for vehicles that include automatic emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition and lane keeping assist functions; L2+ Convenience ADAS for vehicles featuring Automated Highway Driving, Self-Parking and Urban Driving in Stop-and-Go traffic; and L4/L5 Fully Autonomous Driving for autonomous urban driving, robo-taxis and robo-logistics.

Qualcomm's ADAS SoCs and accelerators are built to support heterogeneous compute capabilities designed for application requirements. They're designed to manage a large amount of data from onboard systems, leveraging Qualcomm's next generation AI engines, image signal processors for camera sensors, enhanced digital signal processors (DSPs) for sensor signal processing, high performance CPUs for planning and decision making, the latest GPU technology for high-end visualization and immersive user experience, and dedicated safety and security subsystems across the SoC and autonomous driving accelerator.

Through the autonomous driving accelerator, Qualcomm brings energy efficient compute capabilities to mainstream vehicles, the company said, "which has so far been largely unavailable to the automotive industry because of exceptionally complex and expensive thermal solutions that are fundamentally unscalable because of their power consumption requirements."

"We've spent the last several years researching and developing our new autonomous platform and accompanying driving stack, identifying challenges and gathering insights from data analysis to address the complexities automakers want to solve," said Nakul Duggal, SVP of Qualcomm's product management group, in a statement.

Of particular interest to developers in this announcement is the purpose-built autonomous driving software stack, a modular and scalable solution the company is providing to automotive OEM and tier-1 suppliers. The software stack includes optimized software and applications for complex use cases, such as self-navigating human-like highway driving, as well as choice of modular options, such as perception, localization, sensor fusion and behavior planning. This software infrastructure supports customer-specific stack components that would be co-hosted with the Snapdragon Ride Autonomous Stack components.

Snapdragon Ride is expected to be available for pre-development to automakers and tier-1 suppliers in the first half of 2020.  Qualcomm Technologies anticipates Snapdragon Ride-enabled vehicles to be in production in 2023.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].


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