The FIA Formula E championship is set to launch this Saturday, in Beijing, China. At Qualcomm, we cannot wait to see how the series transpires and evolves. Why? Besides being the Official Founding & Technology Partner of the FIA Formula E Championship, we’re eager to see Qualcomm Halo™ wireless charging technology in action. The technology has been tasked with keeping the FIA Formula E Qualcomm Safety Cars—a pair of BMW i8s—as well as the medical car and extraction car—a pair of BMW i3s—charged between uses. All four cars have been specifically modified to meet FIA safety and technical requirements and feature Qualcomm Halo, which charges a car’s battery without the use of cables. In the future, we’re planning to charge not only the official course cars but also the race cars, and eventually all the cars throughout the races via a dynamic charging solution embedded in the street courses.
Said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, “We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with BMW—one of the leading innovative automobile manufacturers. The BMW i8 and i3 models are fantastic, both in terms of performance and ground-breaking design, and with the Qualcomm wireless charging technology it means they can be rapidly deployed, without unplugging, ensuring they get out on track attending to incidents without delay.”
Why is Qualcomm in Formula E?
Many people are surprised to hear about Qualcomm’s involvement in Formula E. Why not a more mainstream racing series? The company and its subsidiaries are strong proponents of environmental sustainability, and we believe electric vehicles are the future—they’re efficient and better for the environment. Unfortunately, most EVs today are perceived as slow and odd looking (except for a few high-end/high-priced models). Formula E can help change opinions. Formula E cars are sleek, quick and attractive. Formula E has the potential to make EVs “sexy” not just for those “on the fence” about purchasing an EV but also for the next generation of car owners.
We also believe in the trickle-down effect of auto racing—that the breakthroughs you see used in competition will one day trickle down into the cars you buy and drive. We’d like to see Qualcomm Halo wireless charging technology trickle down because it has the potential to curb range anxiety, which plagues many new EV owners. If we can do that, the demand for EVs should increase, the auto industry and its manufacturers will be incentivized to accelerate development and improve the design of EVs, and we’ll all be better off by contributing to the Earth’s wellbeing.
Transforming the auto industry
In addition to charging, Qualcomm is transforming other areas of the auto industry with its wireless inventions. How? In many ways, that can sometimes be difficult to explain, even for some of our inventors directly involved. Check out this video:
But let’s consider this: automobile owners today don’t just want a vehicle that gets them from point A to B faster—they want a vehicle that simultaneously doubles as a theater for the kids in the back seat and a concert hall for the driver and passenger up front, they want 3D navigation, they want a mobile hotspot, they want a mobile concierge service, heads-up safety display… the list will only get longer. Many of these wish-list items can be achieved with smart, seamless wireless connectivity—the same technologies used in smartphones, tablets and the growing number of smartwatches.
So it makes perfect sense for Qualcomm—a company known for its expertise in inventing advanced wireless technologies and driving mobile connectivity—to be working with the automobile industry. What many people don’t realize is that Qualcomm and its subsidiaries have been refining automotive communications for more than 25 years, beginning with OmniTRACS in 1988. Today, we’re viewed by those in the auto industry as a trusted advisor in helping create an entirely new landscape for safety & security, connected infotainment, convenience & personalization, and energy & environment. Here’s a little more about those four areas:
- On the safety front, Qualcomm® technology is behind many of the most popular and innovative safety solutions found in today’s autos including remote diagnostics, location tracking, hands-free calling and post-accident emergency call services. We’re also exploring advanced vehicle-to-pedestrian safety communications.
- Infotainment, always a hit in the aftermarket industry, is now shaping up on OEM’s standard features and options lists. Qualcomm® technology excels in areas such as streaming online music and HD video, 3D graphics, surround sound audio, in-car 4G LTE hotspot capabilities and peer-to-peer communications to name a few.
- Little conveniences make a big difference when it comes to driver and passenger experiences. Qualcomm and its subsidiaries are behind many in-vehicle conveniences including service location assistance, 24/7 connectivity to apps and services (including health care services), mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and remote door lock capabilities.
- Leading the charge (get it?) for Qualcomm energy and environment initiatives in autos is the aforementioned Qualcomm Halo wireless charging solution. Wireless charging for devices resting in the car is also in the works.
So now you know—Qualcomm not only invents technology that goes inside the world’s best mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and wearables, but also automobiles. Today, at least 10M vehicles across 16 different automobile OEMs around the world have some type of Qualcomm® technology inside. By contributing our many years of wireless technology expertise, Qualcomm is truly defining the connected car experience.
Don’t miss Formula E this weekend!
If you want to see an all-new, earth friendly form of automobile racing, check out the Formula E Championship. If you cannot make it to a race, check for coverage here.