VW embeds Qualcomm chips in autonomous driving software plans

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A technician cleans a Volkswagen logo at the production line for electric car models of the Volkswagen Group, in Zwickau

FRANKFURT – Volkswagen’s Cariad on Tuesday said it will source chips from U.S. semiconductor maker Qualcomm to develop autonomous driving software, which the German carmaker has made the backbone of its future strategy.

Qualcomm will supply so-called system-on-chips (SoCs) for Cariad’s platform that aims to enable automated driving up to Level 4 standards, in which the car can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention.

No financial details were disclosed.

“We will get system-on-chips (SoCs) designed to enable assisted and automated driving functions up to Level 4 from Qualcomm, an expert in chip design with over 140,000 patents,” Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess said on LinkedIn.

“The chips of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride portfolio will be used in all Group vehicles with the unified Cariad Software generation starting in the middle of the decade,” Diess added.

Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, would also expand its existing partnership with Intel Corp’s MobilEye and was already in talks to do so, he said.

Diess took over responsibility for Cariad on the carmaker’s management board after a tussle with labour representatives, calling it “the most ambitious project of our entire industry to tap into the most relevant profit pools of the future”.

Responding to reports about delays at Cariad, Diess said it would take two lifecycles to realise the project: “So I would like to say to the critics within the group: it is better to work together on progress than just to complain.”

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Editing by Miranda Murray and Alexander Smith)