Qualcomm bets big on in-house self-driving tech with Arriver deal

U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) is staking extra of its future on automotive applied sciences because it wraps up a deal to purchase Arriver, an organization that focuses on self-driving software program. The transfer brings collectively software program wanted to run cellular phone-based processors and sensors, making a extra interesting package deal for automakers.

“Our technique is to develop into the popular companion for [Original Equipment Manufacturers] OEMs, what we name the digital chassis answer,” Akash Palkhwala, chief monetary officer at Qualcomm, mentioned in an interview on Yahoo Finance Dwell (video above).

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Bringing chips and software program collectively in-house

Arriver builds software program that interprets a automobile’s environment and makes selections about what it ought to do in sure conditions, a key a part of driver help and self-driving know-how.

However such software program requires processing energy, and automakers additionally should think about the portability and energy administration capabilities of the microchips used. Qualcomm says its Arriver deal offers a solution to this challenge by bringing all the things in-house.

“We thought one of the simplest ways to handle that market is to have a mixed chip-and-software answer,” Palkhwala mentioned, highlighting Qualcomm’s current strengths in cell phone know-how, 5G radio know-how, and its Snapdragon line of processors.

Qualcomm’s resolution to purchase Arriver from SSW Companions builds on an current partnership with the corporate on its Snapdragon Trip Platform. The phrases and worth of the deal weren’t disclosed, although Qualcomm famous it can have extra monetary info on the firm’s earnings name in April.

Qualcomm Inc. President and CEO Cristiano Amon speaks in the course of the firm’s press occasion for CES 2022 on the Mandalay Bay Conference Middle on January 4, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photograph by Ethan Miller/Getty Pictures)

The transfer comes as chipmakers more and more think about autonomous and electrical automobiles a key a part of their methods.

William Stein, managing director at Truist Securities, instructed Yahoo Finance that demand from automakers will improve stress on chipmakers and create shortages as extra automotive makers pursue electrification and self-driving know-how. A part of this comes from the truth that electrical automobiles include roughly double the semiconductor content material.

Nevertheless, the present chip scarcity hasn’t “been restricted and even over-focused within the electrical automobile market,” Stein mentioned. “It’s been pretty vital via the entire business, particularly the internal-combustion automobiles.”

Stein defined that there are two camps of pondering across the adoption of autonomous automobiles. The primary contends that the market ought to transfer solely to self-driving automobiles in a single main step. The opposite method is for automakers to succeed in self-driving in smaller steps; for example, by focusing on security know-how and utilizing it as the premise for self-driving know-how.

Automakers “are going to attain that goal barely higher every year and every mannequin and every launch of the brand new know-how,” Stein mentioned. “Finally, maybe we get to some extent the place we have now autonomous driving.”

Qualcomm, in the meantime, is banking on more and more tech-heavy automobiles total. “It’s not simply electrification of automobiles,” Palkhwala mentioned. “You’re seeing automobiles changing into smartphones on wheels.”

Mike Juang is a producer for Yahoo Finance.

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