LG, Qualcomm open joint lab

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LG, Qualcomm open joint lab

LG Electronics is jointly developing autonomous car technology with U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Technologies, as the Korean company hopes to foster its vehicle component business as a future growth engine.

According to Korea’s second-largest electronics company on Thursday, it inked a partnership with Qualcomm to develop a so-called vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology based on 5G networks, which enables cars to communicate with other cars, traffic infrastructure and pedestrians via an internet connection.

The two also opened a joint research center at LG’s existing R&D center in Seocho, southern Seoul, on Thursday, to accelerate collaboration. They will be establishing another research lab, with a floor area of 1,320 square meters (14,208 square feet), in Magok Industrial Complex in southern Seoul by the end of next year.

Through the V2X technology, cars can alert nearby cars of accidents and obstacles and also recognize traffic lights and changes to the driving environment.

Cars can even recognize smartphones held by pedestrians so they can avoid running them over.

“Seamless communication is the key to bringing the era of driverless vehicles as it can enhance the safety of autonomous cars by connecting the vehicle with its surroundings via internet and telecommunications technology,” LG said in a statement.

According to LG, the 5G-based V2X technology enables cars to communicate at four to five times faster speeds compared to the current long term evolution network.

Qualcomm will develop the required chipsets while the electronics company develops the electric components necessary to apply the telecommunications system to vehicles.

LG has been pushing its vehicle component business with the expectation that the market will grow exponentially once a 5G network is commercialized.

“LG plans to lead the next-generation vehicle components market by combining our experience in automotive communication technologies with Qualcomm’s advanced connected solutions from LTE to 5G,” said Kim Jin-yong, executive vice president of LG’s vehicle components smart business unit. “We are optimistic that the combined research strength of Qualcomm and LG will yield benefits that would not be feasible working independently.”

According to market tracker Lux Research, the market for V2X modules will grow to $6.5 billion by 2020.

“With the automotive industry on a clear path to 5G, we look forward to working together with LG to meet the demands of today’s drivers and advance the commercialization of V2X technology in next generation vehicles,” said Nakul Duggal, vice president of product management at Qualcomm.

Shares of LG Electronics on the local stock market rose 6.75 percent to 96,500 won ($85.25) on the news of the deal.

“Although LG Electronics’ vehicle component business currently contributes little to overall corporate earnings, it has been determining the direction of shares,” said Lee Jong-wook, a research fellow from Samsung Securities.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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