BMW will use Qualcomm chips in its next generation of driver-assistance and self-driving systems, the semiconductor maker said.
Qualcomm, based in San Diego, is the world’s biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones but has been diversifying its business, with more than a third of its chip sales coming from sources other than handsets.
Qualcomm’s announcement on Tuesday of the BMW win came before an investor presentation where it was expected to give new details about its strategy.
A spokesperson for BMW said that the new chips would be used for vehicles built on its “Neue Klasse,” or New Class, platform, set to begin production from 2025.
Automotive chips are a crucial growth area for Qualcomm, which supplies chips for infotainment systems instrument panels to companies such as GM and Renault.
But the company has also been working to challenge its chip industry rivals Nvidia and Intel in supplying the chips that power driver-assistance computers for tasks such as automated lane-keeping and, eventually, self-driving systems.
Qualcomm and an investment partner have agreed to buy the automotive supplier Veoneer for $4.5 billion, a deal that gives the chipmaker a firmer footing in the emerging market for driver-assistance technology.
Qualcomm and BMW will use a dedicated Qualcomm computer vision-processing chip to analyze data from front, rear and surround-view cameras. BMW will also use a Qualcomm central computing chip and another set of Qualcomm chips to help the car communicate with cloud computing data centers.
An existing partnership between BMW and Intel’s Mobileye self-driving technology unit will continue, BMW said, although plans to release an autonomous vehicle in 2021 have not materialized.
A 7 Series full-size sedan featuring Intel’s Level 3 autonomous driving technology, where cars can drive themselves under limited conditions but still require a driver, is due for release next year.
The two companies did not say how much of the BMW Group’s lineup the Qualcomm deal would cover.