Qualcomm, the company whose processors power many of the current flagship mobile phones today, has told Pocket-lint that it expects car makers to take a modular approach to bringing the latest tech to their cars in the future.

Announcing a number of partnerships at CES in Las Vegas with companies like Audi and Toyota, Enrico Salvatori told Pocket-lint that car makers are already trying to separate the processor element to be able to upgrade in the future.

In a candid chat over breakfast Salvatori told us that Qualcomm would love to see a modular approach where you can upgrade your processor every couple of years to give you new capabilities just like you would your windscreen wipers.

Stressing that it was up to car makers to do what they saw fit, the move would mean that car owners could upgrade their cars as easily as they've been able to do with components for a PC, and give them a host of new features as they become available.

The move is likely to solve a number of concerns some have that the lead times on the automotive industry isn't as aggressive as the mobile phone market and that will result in huge fragmentation over what is possible on a large scale.


It's something we've already started to see. Qualcomm's latest car based processor is confirmed to be going in some of the Audi 2017 range, but Qualcomm has already announced a successor to the processor for future models.

Salvatori says that the move to include its processor in cars will not only improve the quality of what's available on the dashboard, but give users a chance to plug in many of the sensors we take for granted on smartphones already.

That could mean sensors in the steering wheel to monitor health of the driver, or whether they are playing attention for example.

Salvatori added that it would be very easy to take the company's SenseID fingerprint reader to be used to lock the door without using a key.

"It's not new technologies but new use cases for the technologies," Salvatori confirmed.

The company's first batch of car based processors will be hitting the road later this year. The company says that it is working with many of the leading manufacturers, but that Audi is the only partnership formally announced.