Qualcomm Inc. has received approval to test autonomous vehicles on California roadways. The San Diego corporation appears on a California DMV list of permit holders, dated Dec. 13.
Separately, Qualcomm has started tests of technology that will help autonomous vehicles navigate safely, though a spokesman said a driver is still in the seat.
Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) said Oct. 31 that it planned to test Ford vehicles with its new model 9150 C-V2X chip on San Diego County roadways before the end of the year. Also participating in the tests are Vista-based McCain Inc., AT&T and Nokia. Tests started a few weeks ago, a spokesman said.
Qualcomm in September announced a “cellular vehicle to everything” microchip (abbreviated C-V2X) for autonomous cars. The model 9150 C-V2X chip will help an autonomous vehicle get a better sense of its surroundings. The radio communications technology is meant to complement other sensors such as cameras, radar and lidar to provide information on the vehicle’s surroundings — and detect objects outside the vehicle’s line of sight. Lidar uses a laser to determine location.
Qualcomm has developed reference designs for hardware that will use the 9150 chip, and plans to ship samples of the chips to customers in mid-2018.
The San Diego company plans to make autonomous vehicles even more central to its business with its planned acquisition of NXP Semiconductors N.V. NXP (Nasdaq: NXPI) has a strong portfolio of automotive chips.
The California DMV also recently awarded an autonomous vehicle permit to rideshare company Lyft Inc.