Qualcomm Launches Digital Chassis Tech to Drive Vehicle Connectivity

March 02, 2022 by Jake Hertz

Connectivity technology is no longer confined to houses and businesses. Now, Qualcomm has released a suite of new chips, SDKs, and services to enhance vehicle precision and communication.

Designing “smarter” cars can mean a lot of things: increased connectivity, analytics, and even autonomy. These features are only possible, however, with specialized hardware and software for the vehicle. 

This week, Qualcomm announced a slew of new additions to its Snapdragon Digital Chassis portfolio with the aim of improving intelligent car connectivity.


Snapdragon's Ride platform

Snapdragon's Ride platform includes SoC processors and accelerators for both vision and central compute. Screenshot used courtesy of Qualcomm

How might each of these new offerings drive progress in the future of intelligent vehicles? 


Bringing Connectivity-as-a-Service to Vehicles

The first offering announced by Qualcomm this week is its new Connectivity-as-a-Service feature.

An extension of the Snapdragon Car-to-Cloud Services, Connectivity-as-a-Service was built to support connectivity and integrated analytics in Snapdragon-based vehicles. According to Qualcomm, the feature was designed to enable a customizable and refreshable user experience that can be upgraded wirelessly. Based around the Snapdragon Telematics SOC-based NAD modules, Connectivity-as-a-Service features an API-driven developer environment for creating device and cloud applications. 


Qualcomm's auto connectivity offerings

Qualcomm's auto connectivity offerings include 5G, C-V2X, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, among others for precise positioning and communication. Screenshot used courtesy of Qualcomm

With this new feature, Qualcomm hopes to provide customers with advanced telemetry data insights for their connected vehicles and provide tools necessary for OEM developers to solve related challenges.


Qualcomm Doubles Down on Telematics SDK

The next offering from Qualcomm is its new Snapdragon Telematics Applications Framework.

This tool is an integrated application framework for developing telematics and cloud-connected applications and services, designed with the goal of simplifying application development. More specifically, Qualcomm seeks to address fragmentation and instead enable a common application development framework across multiple OEMs and vehicle lines.


Overview of Qualcomm's Telematics SDK

Overview of Qualcomm's Telematics SDK. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm

The framework is open-source and optimized for connectivity within Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Car-to-Cloud services. The idea is that all vehicles that operate within the Snapdragon Digital Chassis platform will now be able to access a unified development environment with common application APIs. Ultimately the hope is that this reduces design complexity and provides increased telematics for emerging features including location services, cloud-based applications, and 5G.

Qualcomm anticipates the framework to be available in early 2022. 


New Wi-Fi6E Chip Speeds Automotive Connectivity

The final announcement from Qualcomm is a new Wi-Fi 6E automotive chipset. Designed to increase bandwidth for Wi-Fi applications, Qualcomm's flagship of the new chipset is the QCA6698AQ. 



One of Qualcomm's Wi-Fi chips, the QCA6696—a previous generation to the QCA6698AQ—is said to offer Dual MAC, Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS) capability, and 2x2+2x2 MIMO. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm

The QCA6698AQis a Wi-Fi 6E- and Bluetooth 5.2-enabled wireless SoC created explicitly for automotive applications. Capable of offering “simultaneous 802.11ax Dual MAC operation in both 2.4 Ghz and the expanded 5/6 GHz band,” the chip is said to achieve one of the industry’s highest speeds in an AEC-Q100-qualified device. For Wi-Fi connectivity, the QCA6698AQ achieves peak speeds of 1.774 Gbps while also featuring power-saving features such as Target Wake Time.

The QCA6698AQ aims to provide support for applications such as in-vehicle entertainment and other Wi-Fi-enabled applications.


Hitting on Different Verticals

With these new releases, Qualcomm aims to ease access and improve the performance of wireless automotive applications. Between new wireless features, development frameworks, and a Wi-Fi6E SoC chipset, Qualcomm is addressing the automotive industry’s needs from a number of different verticals.