BMW to use its chips in next generation of self-driving systems

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BMW to use its chips in next generation of self-driving systems

Nov 16, Reuters -- Qualcomm Inc said on Tuesday that German automaker BMW will use its chips in its next generation of driver-assistance and self-driving systems.

More than a third of its chip sales come from sources other than the makers of phones, according to San Diego-based Qualcomm, the world's biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones.

The announcement of the BMW win came before an investor presentation in which it detailed how the company is working with companies like Meta Platforms Inc on virtual reality hardware and Microsoft Corp on Windows laptops that use Qualcomm chips.

The addressable market for the firm's technologies is now $700 billion, seven times higher than the phone chip industry alone, according to Chief Executive Cristiano Amon.

Amon said that we've never had so many end-market opportunities for Qualcomm.

A BMW spokesman said the new chips would be used for the new Klasse series of cars, which are set to start production from 2025.

Automotive chips are a key growth area for Qualcomm, which supplies chips for infotainment system instrument panels to companies such as General Motors Co.

It has been working to challenge its chip industry rivals Nvidia Corp and Intel Corp in supplying chips that power driver-assistance computers for tasks such as automated lane keeping and eventual self-driving systems.

Qualcomm and BMW will use a dedicated Qualcomm computer vision processing chip to analyze data from front, rear and surround-view cameras. BMW will use a Qualcomm central computing chip and another set of Qualcomm chips to help the car communicate with cloud computing data centers.

BMW and Intel's Mobileye self-driving technology unit have an existing partnership, but plans to release an autonomous vehicle in 2021 have not materialized, according to BMW.

A 7 Series full-size sedan with Intel's Level 3 autonomous driving technology, which allows cars to drive themselves under limited conditions but still require a driver, is due for release next year.

The two companies didn't say how much of the BMW group's line-up would cover.