Qualcomm mounts attack on ADAS compute platform market

January 07, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Qualcomm mounts attack to ADAS platform market
At CES, Qualcomm unveiled a combined hardware-software platform designed for functions ranging from driver assistance systems to automated driving. With the move, the Californian company is throwing down the gauntlet to market leaders such as Renesas, Xilinx and NXP.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Ride aims to address the complexity of autonomous driving and ADAS by combining a high-performance hardware, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and an autonomous driving software stack to deliver a comprehensive systems solution. It offers automakers a scalable solution designed to support three industry segments of autonomous systems, ranging from L1/L2 Active Safety ADAS for vehicles that include automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and lane keeping assist functions to L2+ Convenience ADAS for vehicles featuring Automated Highway Driving, Self-Parking and Urban Driving in Stop-and-Go traffic and even to L4/L5 Fully Autonomous Driving for autonomous urban driving, robo-taxis. 

The platform is based on the company’s Snapdragon family of automotive SoCs. The device contains several modular heterogenous high-performance multi-core CPUs, energy efficient AI and computer vision (CV) engines as well as a graphics processing unit (GPU).  The company gives some technical data such as a performance of 30 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS) for L1/L2 applications to over 700 TOPS; and all this at a power consumption of 130W for L4/L5 driving.  While this does not seem very energy efficient at the first look, it does not require active cooling and enables the design of a self-contained, compact ADAS and auto-driving control computer. The Snapdragon Ride SoCs and accelerator are designed for functional safety ASIL-D systems.

While the company follows the big automotive OEMs in its assessment that the next wave of innovation will likely be in the L2+ Convenience ADAS segment, the hardware solutions utilized in Snapdragon Ride from a single system-on-chip (SoC) for an Active Safety ADAS system driven by regulatory mandates to a scalable architecture of multiple SoCs and dedicated autonomous driving accelerators allowing for fully autonomous self-driving systems.

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