Qualcomm boosts connected car credentials with Daimler deal

Qualcomm addressed concerns that it is struggling to gain traction in the connected car sector by announcing a major collaboration with Daimler covering wireless connectivity and charging technologies.

The U.S. chip maker penned an agreement with the owner of Mercedes-Benz covering the enhancement of in-car services using 3G and 4G (LTE) technologies, wireless charging technology for drivers' devices, and a broader wireless vehicle charging system for electric cars. Qualcomm said Daimler is also closely assessing its other Snapdragon automotive products and how they might be applied to future vehicles.

Prof Thomas Weber, the member of Daimler's board responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, said the company is "eager to jointly explore possible fields of future cooperation with an internationally leading tech firm" in order to "remain on the cutting edge of technology and continue to deliver unparalleled experiences to our customers."

Qualcomm said one of the main areas of its research with Daimler will be the development of the U.S. company's wireless power transfer technology for electric vehicles. The technology could be used by Daimler to enable wireless charging of electric cars and hybrid vehicles, and also wireless charging of devices in the vehicles.

Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm Inc., said the company is utilising its experience in the mobile industry "to deliver in-car experiences comparable to the ease and convenience of smartphones." He explained that vehicles have "become a mobile platform and an extension of always-on connectivity".

The Daimler deal boosts Qualcomm's credentials in the connected car space at a time when some observers had questioned the chip maker's ability to replicate its success in wireless networks and devices in the auto market.

Qualcomm hit back in mid-May when Aberle said its wireless broadband chips had been installed in 20 million cars as part of a broader announcement regarding new Internet of Things chipsets.

In January, the company showcased its technology in Maserati, Honda and Cadillac models during the CES show in Las Vegas, Forbes reported.

Kanwalinder Singh, SVP of Qualcomm Technologies, in April defended the company's automotive ambitions during a talk with entrepreneurs, stating that the goal is to become a broader technology solutions provider for the auto market rather than just a supplier of chips, The Street reported.

For more:
- see Qualcomm's Daimler announcement
- view this Forbes article
- read The Street's report

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