Radical Qualcomm concept previews tech for BMW, JLR, Mercedes

Augmented reality

The concept behind the Digital Chassis is that one, two or more interlinked smartchips are the brains behind everything in the car, feeding more information to the driver.

So, for example, a roof-mounted camera could scan a car park ahead for available spaces, project them onto an augmented reality head-up display and direct the driver to the spot. Or just use V2X (vehicle-to-everything) tech to grab information from the parking garage itself. At that point, the car might just take over, aided by the autonomous features from Qualcomm’s Ride platform.

AI Fail

One curious aspect of the Qualcomm demo was the use of artificial intelligence, which didn’t quite work. ‘Tour mode’ created a driving route taking in local Munich sites, including the art museum. AI collated some relevant facts to act as a tour guide, which worked, but then also inexplicably generated pictures of the buildings, which looked nothing like the original. AI will no doubt play a big role delivering information to the car, but sometimes you’re better off pulling over and Googling.

Slicker displays

The full-length screen in Qualcomm’s demo is barely even the near future: the firm already powers the 55in display in the new Cadillac Escalade iQ. But it was refreshing to see the coherent clarity and genuinely useful graphics, such as the inactive 3D visualisation of the car to change specific features. That was enabled using Epic Games’s Unreal Engine, which was originally developed for 3D games but is increasingly being used elsewhere.

Qualcomm’s successful pitch to manufacturers is that all are welcome on the platform: it’s an enabler for tech, rather than dictating one way of doing things over another.

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