Qualcomm swallows V2X rival Autotalks

Qualcomm swallows V2X rival Autotalks

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Qualcomm has been pushing into the automotive market for some time – with some success. Now it is taking over the chip manufacturer Autotalks. In doing so, it intends to significantly expand its position in V2X communication.

Electronic, automated communication between vehicles and between vehicles and an intelligent infrastructure plays an important role in the digital transformation of the automotive industry. It represents one of the foundations for next-generation software-defined vehicles that will enable new business models while transforming the driving experience through new services, personalisation and, above all, safety. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technologies have been developed to enable vehicles to communicate with each other and their environment, and are playing an increasingly important role as they become critical sensors for vehicle safety systems.

Fabless semiconductor manufacturer Autotalks has specialised in V2X communications since 2009. The company offers automotive-qualified, global dual-mode V2X solutions that are compatible with multiple V2X standards and aim to reduce collisions and improve mobility. Combining Autotalks’ expertise and industry-leading products with Qualcomm’s automotive experience and commitment to V2X is expected to help accelerate the development and adoption of V2X solutions, according to the company.

The acquisition will integrate Autotalks’ production-ready dual security solutions into Qualcomm Technologies’ growing Snapdragon Digital Chassis product portfolio, which includes a range of cloud-connected automotive platforms.

Qualcomm has been investing in the development of V2X technologies since 2017 – an obvious extension of its business given the company’s strong position in mobile communications. Nakul Duggal, senior vice president & GM, automotive, of Qualcomm Technologies, believes that as the automotive market matures, a standalone V2X security architecture will be required for improved road user safety and intelligent transportation systems. The acquisition of competitor and leading technology provider in the V2X space, Autotalks can therefore be seen as a move to further expand Qualcomm’s position in this space.

The two companies have entered into a binding agreement for the acquisition. Autotalks has already announced its agreement to the transaction. However, the price of the transaction has not been disclosed. The acquisition is also subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Potential customers and business partners in the automotive industry have commented positively on the acquisition. “We are working closely with Qualcomm Technologies to equip our next-generation vehicles with cutting-edge technology and hardware that will provide our customers with best-in-class automated driving experiences,” said Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of Volkswagen’s Cariad software arm. “In this area, Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication technologies are becoming increasingly important and essential to ensure the safety of automotive systems, so we welcome this joint effort.” Volkswagen has been working closely with Qualcomm for some time – but also with Qualcomm competitor STMicroelectronics.

Approval also came from Volkswagen rival General Motors. “There are a number of promising benefits that V2X applications could deliver at scale, and we look forward to continuing to work with companies like Qualcomm to find ways to bring those benefits to customers,” said Scott Miller, vice president, Software Defined Vehicle and Operating Systems at GM.

French carmaker Renault and tier-one suppliers Continental and Harman also issued statements welcoming the acquisition.

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