Renault aims to cut digital development time with Qualcomm deal

Renault says it will be able to drastically reduce development time for connected services when it switches to a new Qualcomm-powered electronic architecture that will start appearing in its cars in early 2026.

The two companies announced an R&D partnership during an online press conference Wednesday to coincide with the reduced Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Renault and Qualcomm are already working together in several areas. The new Renault Megane E-Tech Electric compact sedan uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon digital cockpit platform for its new infotainment interface.

As part of the agreement, Renault will integrate Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis bundle into a new software architecture that relies on two high-performance computer chips powering technologies such as 5G connectivity, digital cockpit, over-the-air updates and level 2+ driver assistance.

Qualcomm describes its digital chassis as “a set of open, scalable cloud platforms for automotive telematics and connectivity,” similar to the scalable “skateboard” electric vehicle chassis that can be used for multiple models.

The move to the new digital architecture will allow Renault to speed up development time for digital services that can generate new revenue streams, Thierry Cammal, head of the Renault Group’s Software Factory, told reporters on a call. in line.

Going directly to Tier 2 semiconductor vendors such as Qualcomm will cut architecture development time by 12 to 18 months, Cammal said.

Developing cloud services will take “three to six months maximum”, Cammal said, compared to around three years now for cars with multiple ECUs, many of which don’t have the ability to be upgraded over the air. .

The investment will be repaid in the form of higher residuals and revenue from services, Renault said.

“The reason we modify this architecture is to extract as much data as possible from all parts of the car to provide scalability and increase the residual value of the car,” Cammal said. He added that service revenues will increase “significantly” in the coming years.

Qualcomm’s Digital Chassis system is based on the company’s fourth-generation chipset. The third-generation version powers Renault Mégane’s infotainment system.

Volvo also announced this week that Qualcomm’s third-generation chipset will be used in a new electric SUV to be launched this year, as well as the all-electric Polestar 3 SUV. Volvo says the chips will enable displays to run software with 2.5x faster overall system speed, 5-10x faster graphics rendering, and 2.5x faster audio digital signal processing.

Last year, Stellantis said it would use the Snapdragon Cockpit platform to power larger displays in the new Opel Astra and Peugeot 308, following a 2017 deal.