The acquisition of Autotalks is meant to bolster Qualcomm Snapdragon Digital Chassis, speed adoption of V2X

Although stagnant handset demand is currently coloring its business, Qualcomm continues its strong growth in the automotive segment, reporting last week a 20% quarterly year-on-year increase in revenue despite an otherwise lackluster Q2. As this piece of its diversification strategy continues to make inroads with virtually every major automotive OEM in the world, Qualcomm announced today it has acquired privately-held Autotalks, a fabless semiconductor firm focused on vehicle-to-everything (V2x) communications, for an undisclosed amount and subject to customary closing conditions. 

In a press release, Qualcomm said Autotalks’ “dual-mode global V2X solutions…are designed to reduce collisions and improve mobility. The combination of Autotalks’ expertise and industry-leading products with Qualcomm’s 20 years of automotive industry experience and commitment to V2X aims to help accelerate the development and adoption of V2X solutions to improve traffic efficiency and help with driver and road user safety.” 

Speaking on the company’s Q2 earnings call, CEO Cristiano Amon called out “continued traction across global automakers and Tier 1 customers,” including partnerships with Mercedes-Benz, Lotu and Xpeng. “Notably,” Amon continued, “during the quarter, we won 12 new designs across our Snapdragon Cockpit and Snapdragon Connectivity 5G platforms with automakers across the globe.” 

Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, Amon said Qualcomm is forecasting flat sequential automotive revenues. And in the context of dealing with macroeconomic factors and “this uncertain landscape,” Amon said Qualcomm would continue to work towards a 5% reduction in operating costs in part by reducing “spending in handsets to fund diversification investment in automotive and IoT.” 

Amon has said Qualcomm is “all in” on automotive, and the company has gone so far as to build a concept vehicle showcasing what the full-range of Snapdragon-based technology can do for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), infotainment and other features. The company has touted a win pipeline in excess of $30 billion. 

Speaking last year, Amon said Qualcomm is well-positioned to grow its automotive business as vehicular architectures change toward digitalization and electrification. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis is made up of tech for digital cockpits, car-to-cloud connectivity, an auto connectivity platform and ADAS. “The opportunity is very significant in auto,” Amon said. “We’re not just a modem company; we’re not just an RF company; we’re not just a CPU or GPU company…We have all of them.” 

In addition to the aforementioned architectural changes in vehicles, Amon, in September, said “perhaps the most fundamental change” is “the transition of cars into platforms for new service delivery that changes the way auto sellers relate to customers.” 

In a statement about the Autotalks acquisition, Qualcomm SVP and GM of Automotive Nakul Duggal noted internal development and deployment of V2X since 2017. As the market matures, he said, “a standalone V2X safety architecture will be needed for enhanced road user safety, as well as smart transportation systems. We share Autotalks’ decades-long experience and commitment to build V2X technologies and products with a focus on solving real-world road user safety challenges. We look forward to working together to deliver global V2X solutions that will help accelerate time-to-market and enable mass market adoption fo this very important safety technology.” 

The cellular version of V2X (C-V2X) is standardized by 3GPP and uses a PC5 interface in the 5.9 GHz band to send and receive messages from vehicles, pedestrians, road-side infrastructure and other connected people and assets. There’s also a method for direct communications using sideline technology, meaning a car can send/receive directly to another vehicle without dependence on a cellular network. With strong governmental backing, China is a key C-V2X market. Autotalks’ has successful showcased its chipset’s conformance to the Chinese C-V2X standard, according to the company, which also said its product was “selected for mass production C-V2X programs in China.” 

“It has been our mission to revolutionize safety for the transportation and automotive industry through our V2X solutions,” Hagai Zyss, CEO of Autotalks, said in a statement.  “We are confident that by combining our knowledge and expertise, we will not only deliver strong V2X products that will enhance transportation efficiency and safety for road users but will accelerate widespread adoption of V2X. We look forward to serving the auto industry together with Qualcomm and to bring the best technologies to market.”

Click here to read more about how Qualcomm is maintaining a focus on road user safety in its automotive R&D. 


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