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Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon Ride Flex

The automotive industry’s first scalable family of Systems on Chip will support digital cockpits and advanced driver assistance.

For the first time, the automotive industry will have a computer chip that combines digital cockpit technology, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving (AD) capabilities on a single System-on-Chip (SoC). 

The solution, the Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC, was unveiled by Qualcomm Technologies during the CES tech expo in Las Vegas this week. It joins the company’s growing Snapdragon Digital Chassis product portfolio.

Designed to meet the highest level of automotive safety, says Qualcomm, the Flex SoC enables a hardware architecture to support isolation, freedom from interference, and quality-of-service (QoS) for specific ADAS functions. It comes equipped with a dedicated Automotive Safety Integrity Level D (ASIL-D) safety island and pre-integrates a software platform that supports multi-operating systems operating concurrently.

Qualcomm provided the following information:

The Flex SoC is pre-integrated with the industry-proven Snapdragon Ride Vision stack, which enables highly scalable and safe driver assistance and automated driving experiences using a front camera to meet regulatory requirements, and multi-modal sensors (multiple cameras, radars, lidars and maps) for enhanced perception that creates an environmental model around the vehicle feeding into vehicle control algorithms.  The Snapdragon Ride Vision stack meets the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) requirements and Europe’s General Safety Regulations (GSR) while scaling up to higher levels of autonomy.

Built on the company’s continued success in developing open, scalable, high-performance, and power-efficient automotive solutions, the Flex SoC family is compatible with the broader portfolio of SoCs within the Snapdragon Digital Chassis Platform. The Flex SoC is optimized for performance scalability, ranging from entry-level to premium, high-end central-compute systems, providing the flexibility to automakers to choose the appropriate performance point for their vehicle tiers. With this capability, automakers are able to realize complex cockpit use-cases, such as integrated instrument clusters with immersive high-end graphics, infotainment and gaming displays, and rear seat entertainment screens, concurrently with latency-critical premium audio experience and the pre-integrated Snapdragon Ride Vision stack. These performance requirements can be realized by utilizing hardware and software co-design.

The Flex SoC is also designed to be an ideal in-vehicle central-compute platform to power the next-generation Software Defined Vehicle (SDV) solutions by providing best-in-class high performance, heterogenous safe compute with the ability to execute flexible mixed critical cloud-native workloads. The in-vehicle compute is complemented by a rich offering of platform software capable of being deployed on a containerized infrastructure. The Flex SoC is supported by a cloud-native automotive software development workflow which includes support for virtual platform simulation that can be integrated as part of in-cloud development operations (DevOps) and machine learning operations (MLOps) infrastructure.

The first Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC is sampling now for an expected start of production beginning in 2024.

“We continue to remain at the forefront of automotive compute innovation, and as we enter the era of Software Defined Vehicles, the Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC family defines a new setpoint for high-performance power-optimized mixed-criticality architectures,” said Nakul Duggal, senior vice president and GM for automotive at Qualcomm.

“We are making it easier and more cost effective for automakers and Tier-1s to embrace the transition to an integrated, open, and scalable architecture across all vehicle tiers with our pre-integrated suite of hardware, software, and ADAS/AD stack solutions while enabling the ecosystem to differentiate on our platforms with an accelerated time-to-market advantage.”

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