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Qualcomm can start testing its self-driving tech in California

The company's autonomous driving chipset gives cars the power to communicate with each other.
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California has given a few more autonomous driving hopefuls permission to test vehicles on its roads, and one of them is a familiar name: Qualcomm. The chipmaker has received permission to test one vehicle and three drivers on December 12th, joining rival Nvidia and other companies that can test their technologies in the state. Qualcomm isn't making its own self-driving cars the way Waymo is, though, and any vehicle it tests will contain the 9150 C-V2X chipset it announced a few months ago.

The chipset gives vehicles 360-degree non-line-of-sight awareness, as well as the ability communicate with one another and with infrastructure like traffic lights. Automakers could eventually use it to act as their autonomous cars' safety systems. Nakul Duggal, the company's VP for product management for automotive, told CNBC Qualcomm expects to be "a key player in the autonomous space." The chipmaker has already begun conducting field trials of the chipset on Ford vehicles in San Diego County and will likely conduct tests in other parts of California. Qualcomm also plans to send test vehicles to Michigan, China, Germany, Italy and Japan to be able to gather data on the chipset's performance in various locations and conditions.

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