Daimler Teams With Qualcomm On Wireless Charging Tech
Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, said on Saturday it would begin working with Qualcomm on wireless charging technologies, for electric vehicles and mobile devices, and would evaluate other avenues of collaboration.
The announcement underscores the increasingly close ties between the automobile industry and mobile communications technologies, with automobiles increasingly functioning in a way similar to smartphones and other Internet-connected consumer gadgets, featuring similarly complex electronics and software.
‘The automobile has become a mobile platform’
“The automobile has become a mobile platform and an extension of always-on connectivity,” said Qualcomm president Derek Aberle in a statement announcing the deal.
To begin with, the companies said they plan to focus on high-speed in-car Internet connectivity via 3G/4G, in-car wireless charging for mobile devices and implementing Qualcomm’s technology for the charging of electric and hybrid vehicles without the need for a physical interface.
For in-car wireless device charging, the collaboration is focusing on WiPower, a technology acquired by Qualcomm in 2010, and which it is pushing to standardise through the Alliance for Wireless Power, formed in 2012 with major components suppliers, with Intel joining the standards group in 2013.
The Alliance for Wireless Power competes with the Wireless Power Consortium and its Qi standard, which is backed by Microsoft and electronics makers including HTC, Nokia, Samsung, Sony and BlackBerry.
‘Cutting edge’ automotive technology
Daimler and Qualcomm said they would jointly evaluate further use of Qualcomm automotive technologies.
Daimler said it is looking to remain on the “cutting edge of technology”.
“With this in mind, we are eager to jointly explore possible fields of future cooperation with an internationally leading tech firm like Qualcomm,” said Thomas Weber, Daimler’s board member for research and development, in a statement.
In a move that further emphasises the convergence of the automobile and mobile technology industries, Daimler has reportedly teamed up with BMW and Volkswagen premium brand Audi, backed by private equity firm General Atlantic, to compete for Nokia’s Here mapping service.
Two other consortia are also in the running for Here, one including Uber and China’s Baidu, and the other backed by China’s Tencent and Navinfo, among others, Reuters reported late on Friday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
Uber’s bid for Here was reported earlier this month by the New York Times, which said Nokia is looking to sell off the mapping unit – which has an 80 percent share amongst automobile makers – to focus on networking technologies.
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