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Behind the Tech: the Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms powering the new Renault Mégane E-TECH Electric infotainment [video]

Dec 15, 2021

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

OnQ sits down with Julien Battiston of Renault Software Factory and Andreas Hennig of Qualcomm Technologies International GmbH to discover what went into the making of the amazing Mégane E-TECH Electric.

Behind the Tech: The Renault Mégane E-TECH Electric Snapdragon Digital Cockpit

Dec 15, 2021 | 4:43

The automotive industry is undergoing a massive digital transformation. Cars are becoming increasingly electric, autonomous, and connected. The real game changer is the combined power of 5G and AI. Future vehicles will be highly customizable and experiential for drivers and passengers, redefining what we think of as a “modern vehicle” and creating new business models for the automotive ecosystem. Helping accelerate that transformation is the Snapdragon® Digital Chassis — an integrated connectivity and computing platform that gives automakers the opportunity to own the in-vehicle digital cockpit experience, stay connected to customers after the sale, and generate additional revenue.

At IAA Mobility 2021, Renault Group unveiled the new Mégane E-TECH Electric, which utilizes 3rd Generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms to power the vehicle’s technically advanced infotainment system. The system features a portrait-oriented touchscreen displays for easy-to-use and see audio, visual, and navigational functions. Plus, built-in Google apps and services provide intelligent infotainment and in-vehicle customer applications that help keep the vehicle current with evolving digital trends through upgradeable capabilities.

Renault Mégane E-TECH Electric Snapdragon Digital Cockpit Demo

Dec 15, 2021 | 4:22

To dive deeper into how the new Mégane E-TECH Electric is leading the auto industry into the digital era, we sat down with Julien Battiston, software cockpit and extended vehicle director, Renault Software Factory, and Andreas Hennig, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies International GmbH.

OnQ: Can you expand on the digital transformation of automotive?

Andreas: As the automotive industry evolves, consumers expect smartphone-like experiences while driving, creating a market for always-connected digital cabins for infotainment, real-time navigation, informational safety, and productivity. For car manufacturers, data constantly moving to and from the cloud allows for a better and more efficient diagnosis of the car’s health. This also enables real-time software updates, for example, for the infotainment system inside the vehicle. There are also safety benefits — connected cars can inform each other about hazards or driving conditions ahead, which can reduce accidents and fatalities on the road. The driving force behind this transformation is 5G. Just as roads are essential infrastructure for transportation, 5G unlocks huge opportunities for automotive — from the factory to the dealership, to the daily commute. 5G and connectivity can make the car — the digital chassis — an active part of the network.

OnQ: Can you outline what the Snapdragon Digital Chassis is?

Andreas: It’s similar to what we see in terms of hardware in electric vehicles with the electric skateboard — a unified set of hardware that can be scaled across multiple cars. On top of this, we see a demand for more efficient computing inside the car. Our Snapdragon Digital Chassis is a set of open and scalable cloud-enabled platforms for automotive telematics and connectivity, the digital cockpit and driver assistance and autonomy. Using a common architecture, the Digital Chassis delivers a connected and intelligent experience that is safer, customizable, immersive, and upgradeable. Developed with 30+ years of mobile technology leadership and over 20 years of automotive industry experience, our automotive product portfolio can connect cars to networks, the cloud, other vehicles, pedestrians, infrastructure, and mobility services — redefining the modern car.

OnQ: What is unique about the new infotainment system, and how does it differentiate itself?

Julien: With the new Mégane E-TECH Electric’s infotainment system, we aim to meet the automotive industry’s requirements and consumers’ growing demand for premium in-vehicle experiences, as well as to underscore the Mégane’s market position as a highly competitive electric vehicle. Our work with Qualcomm Technologies is re-defining the in-vehicle experience by allowing us to provide better and more personalized experiences to both drivers and passengers.

Andreas: As the automotive industry’s first-announced scalable artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution, the 3rd Generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms are designed to transform in-vehicle experiences, supporting higher levels of compute and intelligence needed for advanced capabilities featured in next generation vehicles, including highly intuitive AI experiences for in-car virtual assistance, natural interactions between the vehicle and driver, and contextual safety use cases. Using our Snapdragon Digital Chassis technology, the new Mégane vehicles will be designed to deliver transformative experiences for drivers and passengers.

OnQ: Can you share why you selected to work with Qualcomm Technologies specifically?

Julien: Since the automotive industry can be quite risk averse, we wanted to make sure we were working with a company that is very solid in the Android world, with the capability to produce professional software at a very large scale. Qualcomm Technologies brings the benefits of its extensive experience in mobile to the automotive industry and has been working with the automotive ecosystem for 20+ years to move toward a more connected future. Now we’ve arrived and we are excited about working together to create new platforms and systems for future growth.

OnQ: What were the requirements for the infotainment system in the new vehicle?

Julien: Our aim was to design a system that both drivers and passengers can benefit from and enjoy a system that is as close as possible to the smartphone world in terms of performance, speed, and user experience. The Mégane E-TECH Electric brings the connected immersive experiences we are used to enjoying via our smartphones into the vehicle.

OnQ: What were the technology challenges you needed to overcome?

Julien: One of the main challenges for us as an automotive company was a technological one — the adoption of Android and Google services. At the same time, we wanted to change the paradigm of working with Tier 1s by doing our own internal development and capturing value internally so that we could master the pace of innovation, but also achieve the level of quality needed to deliver a next-generation infotainment system.

Andreas: Another challenge was related to automotive development time. Smartphones have increasing performance levels year-over-year. A car manufacturer, on the other hand, usually has several years of development time. It is therefore challenging to ensure you have selected the right hardware platform at the beginning; one that will still deliver a state-of-the-art system in the end. We really worked together with Renault on this and took some risks. But in the end, we succeeded in bringing a cutting-edge system onto the market — even when compared to smartphones.

OnQ: Can you share the importance of new technology, innovation, and collaboration between automotive and technology companies?

Andreas: For me, this is crucial. Today, car manufacturers and tech companies need to work together all the time. One reason for this is that is gives the car manufacturer awareness and access to the latest and greatest technology as early as possible. This ensures that you still end up with an advanced and innovative product even after several years of development. But this also makes it possible for the car manufacturer to influence product specifications to make sure that their specific needs for the car infrastructure are being met by one component, rather than causing a later need for additional components to provide the full range of functionality.

Julien: For the automotive industry, both the pace of innovation and the pace of delivering features to the customer is going to increase. The entire automotive ecosystem is going digital. To keep pace, automotive companies need to go directly to the source of that innovation, which is, in my view, companies like Qualcomm Technologies.

OnQ: Thank you both for your time.

Join us at the Qualcomm Technologies booth at CES from January 5-8: West Hall, Booth #5005:


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The OnQ Team