Networking

Qualcomm's $47B acquisition of NXP could help power the future of productivity in cars

Qualcomm recently agreed to purchase NXP Semiconductors for a hefty sum, in a deal that could boost the development of connected cars.

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Image: iStockphoto/graphicnoi

Semiconductor and telecommunications giant Qualcomm recently announced that it would be shelling out $47 billion to acquire NXP Semiconductors, a company known for producing chips for automobiles. The deal could be a boon for the development of connected cars and the future of autonomous vehicles.

According to a press release announcing the deal, Qualcomm said the acquisition will expand its footprint in "automotive, Internet of Things, security and networking," which it also labeled as "key growth opportunities." However, it's clear that automotive is the big target here.

Qualcomm already provides some of the technology behind connected cars. The NXP deal, though, could help the company penetrate the automotive industry much more quickly and thoroughly, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said in the press release.

SEE: Our autonomous future: How driverless cars will be the first robots we learn to trust

As noted by the Wall Street Journal, Qualcomm already provides the connectivity in connected cars. The NXP acquisition, however, will provide a broader portfolio of connected car technology such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), safety systems, networking, powertrain and chassis, secure access, telematics, and infotainment.

"As a leading semiconductor solutions supplier to the automotive industry, NXP also has leading positions in automotive infotainment, networking and safety systems, with solutions designed into 14 of the top 15 infotainment customers in 2016," the press release stated.

Qualcomm isn't trying to produce autonomous vehicles. Rather, the company seems to be focusing on the experience that users will have when they are riding in one. For consumers, the benefits are obvious, but there are also some potential benefits for professionals and business users as well.

This deal, and the companies behind it, could help transform the autonomous vehicle into a mobile workstation. Improved connectivity could make it easier for those in bigger cities, with longer commute times, to be more productive.

Drivers (or riders, rather) could potentially be able to receive work messages through their car, if companies such as Slack offered integrations. In-dash screens could also be used as a second monitor, allowing a businessperson to get work done on the way to the office. Additional screens, like those on the backs of headrests, could even be leveraged as browsers for backseat passengers.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Qualcomm will buy NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion, in a move to leverage their connected car technology.
  2. The deal could boost development of connected car systems, which could lead to a better experience rider in autonomous vehicles.
  3. Deals like this one could pave the way for autonomous vehicles to become mobile workstations for business commuters.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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