U.S. semiconductor and telecom giant Qualcomm, in partnership with a Chinese startup company, is creating a smart car lab in southwest China.
The new learning center, or “IoT-connected smart car collaborative innovation laboratory”, will provide a dedicated facility for Qualcomm and Thunder Software Technology Company (Thundersoft) researchers to make strides in areas of intelligent cockpit and control systems, user interface, and user experiences.
Thundersoft is a provider of in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) solutions for connected vehicles. Current products include a hypervisor-based framework, along with phone projection, audio and Bluetooth solutions.
Additionally, it is hoped that the Qualcomm-Thundersoft smart car lab will help attract other companies, including auto manufacturers and technology research companies to the area. Ideally, creating an ecosystem for smart car IoT R&D with many participants in the same area to foster information and share ideas and advances in the field.
Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm, noted that China has become an important location for research and development in connected vehicles and the Internet of Things. “China has gradually become a core market in the global wave of development for IoT and connected smart cars,” he said. He also praised the efforts of Chongqing city, which has made “notable progress” in cultivating strategic emerging industries, making it “a metropolis with one of the biggest potentials for investment in western China.”
Chongqing is also the headquarters of the Qualcomm-Thundersoft joint venture, Thundercomm, established last year to help accelerate IoT innovation in China. Thundersoft is the majority stakeholder in the joint venture and remains responsible for building the IoT team focused on building IoT solutions based on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
This announcement comes at a difficult time for Qualcomm, as the government of Taiwan just hit the company with a record-setting $773 million fine as the result of an antitrust probe into Qualcomm’s practices in Taiwan. According to Taiwanese regulators, the company has been violating antitrust rules for the past seven years, holding monopoly status over key mobile phone technologies such as CDMA, WCDMA, and LTE and refusing to license patents to other providers.
Qualcomm disagrees with the regulator’s findings and has stated its intention to appeal the decision in Taiwan.