OnQ Blog

Q: How do you accelerate the future of cars? [VIDEO]

Jun 26, 2015

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

The inaugural season of Formula E is about to come to a climactic end in London’s Battersea Park, and get this: the London ePrix is a double header—one race on Saturday and another on Sunday. That’s two races for Brazilian compatriots Nelson Piquet and Lucas di Grassi—currently first and second, respectively, in the driver’s points standings—to continue their exciting street duel. And don't count Sebastien Buemi out! Can e.dams-Renault hold on to the team crown? Or will Audi Sport ABT pull a rabbit out of the hat? It all comes down to this weekend!

As an Official Founding and Technology Partner of Formula E, Qualcomm Technologies will be closely following the race as well as the performance of the pair of Qualcomm Safety Cars and the pair of Medical/Extraction Cars. All four are relying on Qualcomm Halo wireless EV charging technology to stay ready and rolling.

To charge the safety and medical/extraction cars, all the official FIA driver has to do is park over the Qualcomm Halo pads—no cables to untangle or plug in. Wireless charging ensures that when the cars are needed on track, to perform their official duties, they are fully charged and the official drivers can immediately dispatch without any holdups. Keeping these four important cars charged is just the first test for Qualcomm Halo in Formula E. The second test will begin soon when we work with Formula E, the FIA Governing body and the race teams to overcome the technical and race regulation challenges in charging the Spark-Renault SRT_01E race cars on race day.

Do you see the direction Qualcomm Halo is moving? Nearly all the “ground-breaking” technologies or features we take for granted in our cars today were first invented or extensively tested in motorsport. Examples include disc brakes, active suspension, and semi-auto transmission… even the good old rearview mirror! Qualcomm Halo is one such inventive technology we envision being extensively tested and enhanced in Formula E as part of its journey to mass adoption by the auto industry to serve consumers’ EVs.

With a series of Spark-Renault SRT_01E updates planned, eight new manufacturers entering the fray, and with the work on how and when to implement Qualcomm Halo, Formula E’s future seasons promise to build upon and surpass this year’s excellent race series.

With the next season only five months from now, time waits for no engineer. As a company of eager inventors and engineers, we’re always thinking and looking ahead. It’s hard to wait, even for five months. In fact, around here, we say “Why Wait.” It’s not a question, it’s a call to action. We want to make the future real, now. So we did a little experiment…

We picked up a 1:10 scale radio controlled car…

Photo credit: InFact
Photo credit: InFact

asked our friend Logan Stephens from InFact Ltd. to do some custom body work…

Photo credit: InFact
Photo credit: InFact

and created our own Formula E racer…

Photo credit: InFact

complete with its own wireless charging system using Qualcomm WiPower technology.

Photo credit: InFact

Similar to Qualcomm Halo, WiPower is on a lower power scale and is optimized to wirelessly charge consumer electronics (CE) such as smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth headsets and, as seen here, model cars. Adding WiPower was simple for our engineers. Using the existing power interface on the car, they were able to route the power input using a standard WiPower receiver to charge the battery on the same charging pad used to charge other CE devices.

To top it off, Stephens and InFact created a gyro-enabled, Wi-Fi mobile app so that we could drive it with a smartphone!

Photo credit: InFact
Photo credit: InFact

Charged by WiPower, our mini Formula E was ready to roll!

Photo credit: InFact

But we wondered what we could benchmark it against. Heck we thought, let’s test it against the real thing!

To find a capable pilot for our radio controlled race car, we tapped into the most obvious talent pool available to us: FIRST Robotics, of which Qualcomm has been designated a strategic partner. Where else would we find people with young reflexes and a knack for remote controls? Our choice was team member and high school student Emily Cabrera. Taking on Emily, in the real thing, is the winner of the very first Formula E race in Beijing, Lucas di Grassi. Check it out:

Don’t miss the London ePrix this Saturday and Sunday, June 27 and 28. If you’re not there, watch for it on your local television networks.

Behind-the-scenes bonus video!

Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology is licensed by Qualcomm Incorporated. Prototype charging pads are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Qualcomm WiPower is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.


Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Anthony Eng

Senior Marketing Mgr., Qualcomm Technologies