General Motors announced on Thursday that its next-generation hands-free driver-assist system will be developed by the American semiconductor company, Qualcomm (QCOM:NASDAQ). The technology will power the “Ultra Cruise” driver-assistance feature on a luxury Cadillac CELESTIQ sedan released in 2023.

Sensors such as radar and cameras will be the eyes, while the challenge of managing all the data the sensors collect is the reason behind the computing partnership. 

GM will provide the software to make the system operational, and Qualcomm is supplying two processor chips and one chip designed to speed up specific functions. The all-electric Celestiq will allow for hands-free driving on surface streets and highways and account for nearly 95% of roads in the U.S. and Canada.

ADAS software and features developed by General Motors will be powered by the Ultra Cruise compute including, perception, planning localization, and mapping. It comprises two Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs and one SA9000P AI accelerator designed to enable superior performance and power efficiency.

Moreover, the Snapdragon Ride SoCs will fulfill automotive safety standards with multiple built-in redundancies and have the capability to evolve by leveraging Snapdragon Ride’s SoCs performance and high-speed interfaces for future expansion.

In a news release, Ken Morris, GM vice president of Electric, Autonomous, and Fuel Cell Vehicle Programs said: “Despite its relatively small size, Ultra Cruise’s compute will have the processing capability of several hundred personal computers.”

Qualcomm competes against rivals like Nvidia Corp (NVDA) and Intel Corp’s (INTC) Mobileye to win deals with automakers for self-driving chips. Energy efficiency for these chips is a crucial element for automakers in electric vehicles where computes vies for limited battery life.


General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is all-inclusive and accessible. The company is redefining how people and goods move and commits itself to a vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.

In Thursday trading, GM stock was down 0.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, while the S&P 500 had gained 0.1%.

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