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Qualcomm has taken a significant step towards solidifying its position in the automotive sector as a lucrative customer base for its chips and related communications technology by acquiring Autotalks, an Israel-based fabless chipmaker. Autotalks designs and builds semiconductor and system-on-a-chip technology to help improve automotive safety, which is essential in advanced automotive technology. Its technology is utilized in sensors that aid vehicles and their drivers to detect road hazards such as oncoming vehicles in a driver’s blind spots, and it communicates with other vehicles to enhance responsiveness.
Sources close to the deal have indicated that Qualcomm is paying between $350 million and $400 million for the startup, though the exact terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. Autotalks was founded in 2009 and has raised $110 million, with investments from strategic backers like Samsung, Hyundai, Toyota, as well as financial supporters like Gemini Israel and Magma Venture Partners.
Qualcomm plans to incorporate Autotalks’ V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communication technology into its Snapdragon Digital Chassis portfolio. Autotalks has a wealth of experience and expertise in developing V2X products and technologies that aim to enhance transportation efficiency and safety for road users. In a statement, Nakul Duggal, Senior Vice President & GM, Automotive, Qualcomm Technologies, said, “We share Autotalks’ decades-long experience and commitment to build V2X technologies and products with a focus on solving real-world road user safety challenges. We look forward to working together to deliver global V2X solutions that will help accelerate time-to-market and enable mass market adoption of this very important safety technology.”
Qualcomm has been investing in V2X research, development, and deployment since 2017 and claims that as the automotive market matures, a standalone V2X safety architecture will be required for enhanced road user safety, as well as smart transportation systems. The company has already secured a sizeable list of customers, including VW, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Honda, and Stellantis, for its automotive business. In FY21, the company’s QCT division recorded automotive revenue of $975 million, and in FY22, it increased to $1.3 billion.
Qualcomm’s acquisition of Autotalks is not surprising, given that safety has become one of the most important issues in advanced automotive technology, and it presents a significant opportunity for carmakers. While fully autonomous systems remain a long-term goal, autonomous and driver-assisted systems will require robust safety features. A standalone V2X safety architecture will help to enhance road user safety, making it a primary feature and solution that carmakers are most likely to invest in when designing newer car models. The acquisition of Autotalks is a logical next step for Qualcomm to beef up its capabilities and product range in this area.