Renault says it will be able to sharply reduce development time for connected services when it moves to a new electronic architecture powered by Qualcomm that will start to appear in its cars in early 2026.
The two companies announced an R&D partnership in an online news conference on Wednesday to coincide with the scaled-back Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Renault and Qualcomm are already working together in several areas. The new Renault Megane E-Tech Electric compact hatchback uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon Digital Cockpit Platform for its new infotainment interface.
Under the agreement, Renault will integrate Qualcomm's Snapdragon Digital Chassis bundle into a new software architecture that runs off two high-performance computer chips powering technologies such as 5G connectivity, digital cockpit, over the air updates and Level 2+ driver assistance.
Qualcomm describes its Digital Chassis as "a set of open and scalable cloud-enabled platforms for automotive telematics and connectivity," similar to scalable "skateboard" electric vehicle chassis that can be used for multiple models.
The switch to the new digital architecture will enable Renault to speed up development time for digital services that can generate new revenue streams, Thierry Cammal, the head of Renault Group's Software Factory told journalists in an online call.
Going straight to Tier 2 semiconductor suppliers such Qualcomm will cut 12 to 18 months from the development time of the architecture, Cammal said.
Developing services in the cloud will take "three to six months max" Cammal said, compared to around three years currently for cars with multiple ECUs, many of which lack the ability to be upgraded over the air.
The investment will be returned in the form of higher residuals and revenue from the services, Renault said.
"The reason why we are changing this architecture is to extract as much data as possible from all parts of the car in order to provide upgradeability and to increase the residual value of the car," Cammal said. He added that revenue from services is going to increase "drastically" in the coming years.
Qualcomm's Digital Chassis system is based on the company's fourth-generation chipset. The third-generation version powers the Renault Megane's infotainment system.
Volvo this week also announced this week that Qualcomm's third-generation chipset would be used in a new electric SUV to be launched this year, as well as the Polestar 3 full-electric SUV. Volvo says the chips will enable the screens to run software with 2.5 times faster overall system speed, five to 10 times faster graphics rendering, and 2.5 times faster audio digital signal processing.
Last year Stellantis said it would use the Snapdragon Cockpit Platform to power larger screens in the new Opel Astra and Peugeot 308, following a 2017 agreement.