As connected cars get smarter and are able to see and understand traffic and road conditions, massive numbers of intelligent sensing vehicles will be able to provide real-time road condition updates on their own—generating rich, high quality maps. This will be the key for autonomous driving, as driverless systems will require high-definition maps that are much more precise, frequently updated and richer than what we have today.

Connected cars will then become live sensors that can deliver alerts about hazardous conditions as well as detect traffic warnings, lane markers, cracks or potholes in the road and construction zones—building a detailed map of the road that’s updated in real time. The cars can even highlight improvement areas in infrastructure such as a particularly dangerous intersection or an area prone to accidents.

To help get us to this connected and autonomous future, Qualcomm has introduced their Drive Data Platform, which is designed to intelligently collect and analyse information from a vehicle’s sensors. This means these smart cars can determine their location up to lane-level accuracy, monitor and learn driving patterns, perceive their surroundings, and share this reliable and accurate data with the rest of the world.

Qualcomm Drive Data platform is built on three pillars: heterogeneous connectivity, precise positioning and on-device machine learning, all integrated into the Qualcomm Snapdragon. The platform uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820Am automotive processor. With an optional integrated X12 LTE modem capable of up to Cat 12 speeds, the Snapdragon 820Am is designed to deliver the next level of intelligence and mobile connectivity (e.g., 802.11p, Wi-Fi and BLE).

It is designed to fuse data from the vehicle’s camera feed with inertial sensors and navigation data, optimised for precise positioning up to lane-level accuracy even in challenging environments such as urban canyons. Additionally, Qualcomm Technologies is offering a deep-learning software development kit (SDK). The SDK, called the Qualcomm Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine (SNPE), is engineered to use the Snapdragon processor’s heterogeneous compute capabilities to provide auto makers a powerful, energy-efficient platform for delivering the next level of automotive intelligence.