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With slump in phone business, LG now eyes automobile industry

LG has partnered Qualcomm for the 5G automotive platforms to double down on efforts in the automobile industry.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | February 1, 2021 | Updated 17:31 IST
Source: Reuters

Highlights

  • LG has announced it is partnering Qualcomm for 5G automotive platforms.
  • LG said it will leverage decades-long R&D to work on 5G automotive platforms.
  • LG has not confirmed if its efforts are directed towards making an EV of its own.

LG is foraying into the automobile industry now that its smartphone business is due for either closure or a handover because of successive loss-making years. The South Korean company has announced it is partnering with Qualcomm to develop 5G automotive platforms as LG wants to set eyes on business expansion in emerging markets. Park Jong-sun, vice president of LG Electronics, has said the new partnership will leverage decades-long research and development experience specific to 5G automotive platforms.

Since Qualcomm is one of the biggest manufacturers of semiconductors for telematics and wireless car connectivity, LG wants to tap its resources, much like other partners that Qualcomm is working with. Qualcomm wants to develop "reliable, connected, intelligent and location-aware next-generation vehicles" as the company goes on to expand its partnerships that currently include LG, ZTE Corp, and Continental AG. LG thinks 5G is critical for the deployment of a fully-connected car platform and harnessing Qualcomm's expertise for that is the way to go.

According to Jong-sun, up to three quarters, precisely around 75 per cent, of all vehicles that will sell in 2027 will have some form of cellular connectivity inside, which paints a bright future for 5G automotive technologies. LG wants to dip its toes into this market early so that its partnership with Qualcomm Technologies is ready to bear fruits by the time the market for fully-connected cards mature. LG and Qualcomm have a long-standing relationship in the connected car segment of the industry.

In 2004, LG and Qualcomm partnered to create telematics technology while later in 2017, the two companies signed a deal to collaborate on connected car solutions. And then in 2019, both LG and Qualcomm inked a deal to work on LG's in-car infotainments and webOS Auto platforms. LG wants to go all out in the automotive industry that it has been working towards over the recent years, but forging a partnership with Qualcomm will catapult the company further into the market. LG is already in a partnership with Canada's Magna International for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and its parts.

The market for self-driving vehicles, electric cars, and fully-connected cars is still growing. Besides the bigwigs such as Hyundai, Tesla, Honda, and others, smartphone and tech companies are shifting their focus dramatically. After Google's parent company Alphabet entered the market with Waymo, other brands decided to sink their teeth into the EV market. But the most interesting development was about Apple. Apple was rumoured to be working on an EV earlier this month but Hyundai mistakenly admitted it has got a proposal from Apple on the same. This was followed by a series of denials but eventually, the secret was out for good.

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