The big surprise comes from the fact that Nvidia claims dominance in ADAS and self-driving and it looks like that it managed to lose the world’s biggest car manufacturer to its big rival, Qualcomm.
Nvidia is missing one critical part, the connectivity part called a modem. Cars of the future will heavily rely on a connected car platform that includes a modem. This is the piece of the puzzle that Nvidia is missing.
Nvidia won the Drive PX automotive deal with Tesla, and this is, so far, one of the splashiest announcement. We will come back to you about the fact that yesterday Nvidia announced that it will partner with Mercedes too. Nvidia scored a lot of big names in the automotive field, but we have to point out, lost Volkswagen, the famous VW.
Dr. Volkmar Tanneberg, an executive director of Electrics and Electronic development at Volkswagen, took to the stage with Qualcomm’s CEO to announce this partnership.
Dr. Tanneberg mentioned that VW plans to use Snapdragon X12 modem and X5 LTE modem in its 2018 line up. He pointed out that the VW is using the current generation Qualcomm modem in its connected car.
The more important announcement is that VW plans to use the Automotive Snapdragon 820A in its new cars scheduled to launch in the course of 2019. Snapdragon 820A is an automotive version of a very successful 14nm quad-core Kryo 200 based SoC with Adreno 530 GPU.
Mollenkopf didn’t announced it, but we are quite sure that by that time there may well be an automotive version of Snapdragon 835 in 10nm or possibly even more advanced SoC with even faster CPU, GPU and compute / machine learning component.
This all happens in preparation for 5G networks that will start testing in late 2017 and early 2018. The Snapdragon X50 is the first 5G modem that should be ready in the second part of 2017 and we expect to see it deployed by SK Telkom before Korea Olympics in February 2018, in the USA with both Verizon and AT&T with a focus on the fast internet to home. We will talk a bit about this in a separate story but Qualcomm’s CEO Steve Mollenkopf believes that V2X or vehicle to everything communication will be a crucial part of the car of the future.
So, Qualcomm will sell the connectivity part, modems as well as the compute part, Snapdragon 820A, to the biggest car manufacturer offering the complete solution. Nvidia is missing the modem while Intel is missing a decent Automotive SoC that can do the compute / ADAS in the car.