Renault and Qualcomm recently signed a partnership to make the French manufacturer’s future vehicles even more connected. A technological alliance that also wants to change the relationship between the brand and its users.
In early November, Qualcomm, through Snapdragon, its branch in charge of mobile platforms, and Renault sealed a partnership to bring a little more connectivity into future cars from the French manufacturer. A major change in the perception that drivers will have of their vehicle and what it can bring them on a daily basis.
On the occasion of the Snapdragon Summit held last week in Hawaii, Tech&Co met Don McGuire, the marketing director of Qualcomm, the parent company, about the merger between the two sector players that one might think light years apart. “We have put 30 billion dollars on the table to develop our automotive chips and work in collaboration with manufacturers like Renault,” he recalls.
A smartphone on wheels
Alongside the French equipment manufacturer, there are also big names in the automotive industry such as General Motor, Mercedes-Benz or even Stellantis (Fiat-Chrysler-PSA in particular) and other emerging Chinese groups. Collaborations that will take many forms, but all of which aim to change the approach to the car, both for drivers, passengers and companies, with more connected, intuitive interactions and more possibilities inside the electric car.
Cars have become real smartphones on wheels, even PCs,” summarizes the American.
“We want to do everything with it like with our phone. It’s another center of our daily lives and everything will soon be able to be done from inside our car”.
Qualcomm has already announced an investment in Ampere, Renault’s branch dedicated to electrical and software. This will be through Snapdragon, which will equip electric vehicles with its Snapdragon Digital Chassis solution. This set of functions and services will be adapted to the needs of the hexagonal group and should “play a pivotal role” in its next products. In the near future, a totally digital cockpit under Android, better connectivity and improved assisted driving systems are therefore expected in Renault cars.
A digital cockpit to have everything in view
The implementation of the connected inside the car will bring major changes whether for the exterior with multiple sensors to position itself in its environment, safety with possible alerts in the event of mechanical problems, information displayed or reinforced uses. “It’s really nice to see the growing automotive enthusiasm for Snapdragon platforms,” said the Qualcomm executive. “Automotive is arguably one of the most digitally transforming industries.”
With the addition of a powerful Snapdragon chip in the electronic systems, Don McGuire sees multiple advances for users: the display of information on the windshield under the eyes of the driver who thus does not lose sight of the road . This could also concern the journey, data usually indicated on the dashboard (speed, rpm, oil level, etc.), applications to launch (music, maps, message, services, etc.), but also incoming calls to take or simply adjust its interior comfort (temperature, seat position, etc.). All on a digital, tactile and scalable dashboard according to your needs.
“Our solution will be adaptable to each manufacturer, and they will be able to perform their software updates remotely. This even depends on a particular type of vehicle or its buyers. It will change the relationship between the brand and the driver, because there will no longer be the intermediary dealer on the follow-up”, foresees Don McGuire. “Renault like the others will reinvent their relationships with their customers thanks to this.”
Change the relationship between the brand and the driver
The arrival of connectivity is therefore emerging as an upheaval, he adds. Because, this will allow vehicles to reinforce their uses with many more possibilities via the touch screen and the accompanying voice assistance, but also to offer entertainment to passengers or to be able to control the connected house from their vehicle. Buying a car should no longer be done with the sole logic of longevity in mind, according to Don McGuire, but in terms of the services wanted and when he wants them.
“You will be able to simply download them through the software, fetching features from the cloud, one of the pillars of Snapdragon Digital Chassis. It will change the way you buy a car, how you manage it and how long you keep it. keep it,” he said. “Between a Fiat or Jeep owner, who belong to the same group (Stellantis, editor’s note), the customers are different as are the needs. Our platform will make it possible to personalize the offers much more easily and quickly.”
Bringing intelligence into the electric car experience is Qualcomm’s primary goal and that sought by Renault to stand out. And the technological contribution could be much greater than simple functions for the vehicle and driving.
The sensors will thus be able to detect if the person behind the wheel shows signs of fatigue, with less direct attention on the road by focusing on the gaze or by recording the movements of the vehicle, to call for help with precise geolocation in the event of an accident and even to locate cars in relation to each other, in relation to pedestrians too. “Everything is aimed at making driving safer and more autonomous. And we will be there to achieve this. This is why this partnership with Renault is important”, concludes Don McGuire who does not foresee the arrival of the first cars equipped with Snapdragon technology before early 2024.