Stock take: the tech revealed at CES 2022, from BMW, Sony and more

Replacing the current network of ECUs with two powerful chips will help cut the development of digital services from three years to three-to-six months, according to Thierry Cammal, the head of Renault Group’s Software Factory.

The reason being that services are developed in the cloud and beamed into the car where Qualcomm’s system-on-chip (SoC) software/hardware combination, dubbed the digital chassis, will relay it to the screen or the ADAS controller or wherever.

Renault reckons this upgradeability will “drastically” increase revenue from the services offered, as well improving residual values of used cars, as they will theoretically always come with the latest tech.

The odd thing here is that Qualcomm isn’t even a so-called tier-one supplier, it’s a tier-two, which means it will supply chips to a tier-one like Bosch, Continental or Harman, which will then supply Renault.

Renault going direct to Qualcomm is part of the new world order in the automotive industry, claimed Enrico Salvatori, head of Qualcomm Europe. “The traditional tier-one and tier-two go-to-market model has been evolved,” he said. “The level of innovation that we’re introducing in the car is forcing the auto maker to go directly to the SoC supplier.”

Autonomous driving remains another big element of CES, and this year Volvo was talking up its partnership with lidar provider Luminar. Volvo is looking to add the resulting Ride Pilot system, including ‘Iris’ lidar, to its cars. It will start with its new electric SUV, due this year, following testing in California.

Silicon Valley-based Luminar was also behind an eye-catching demonstration at CES, showing how its lidar-equipped vehicles spotted and stopped for a dummy child running out in the dark, versus a non-Lidar equipped Tesla Model Y, which rather gruesomely ran over the dummy in one video captured by showgoer and tech analyst Patrick Moorhead.

“I infinitely respect Elon Musk, but lidar cost has decreased tenfold since his proclaimed hatred for it, and vision and radar systems haven’t met the bar yet,” Moorhead tweeted.


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