Qualcomm & General Motors In New Chip Partnership

General Motors said a trio of chips from Qualcomm will power the “Ultra Cruise” driver-assistance feature on a luxury Cadillac sedan next year, reported Reuters.

The Qualcomm chips will provide the computing power for the all-electric Celestiq, the company’s planned flagship sedan. The automaker says that Ultra Cruise will allow for hands-free driving on both surface streets and freeways to account for up to 95% of roads in the United States and Canada, going beyond GM’s current Super Cruise feature that only works on highways.

“It’s a supervised system, so you still have to pay attention. But essentially what we’re doing is giving the driver a hands-free experience in a much larger domain,” said Jason Ditman, chief engineer for Ultra Cruise.

At the heart of the system will be a computer about the size of two laptops sandwiched together. GM will provide the software to make the system work, and Qualcomm is providing key chips – two processor chips and then one chip designed to speed up specific functions.

The deal is a milestone for Qualcomm, which dominates chips for mobile phones and has been diversifying its business. While it Qualcomm has numerous deals with automakers to provide chips for infotainment centers and 5G connectivity, but GM is the first automaker to use Qualcomm’s “Snapdragon Ride” chips for self-driving features.

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