Since their inception, cars have always connected us. They carry us across roads to familiar places and help us explore brand new ones. They foster memories and provide the freedom to access the world around us. And now, we’re helping our partners to transform the auto industry even further with cars that connect in brand new ways.

At CES 2020 in Las Vegas, we worked with Land Rover to unveil the new Defender 90 and 110, the first ever vehicles to feature two embedded LTE modems for enhanced connectivity. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon S820Am Automotive Platform with the integrated Snapdragon X12 LTE Modem, this vehicle offers one modem dedicated to the Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) technology and another looking after music streaming and apps for seamless connectivity. It also sports a new always-on and always connected Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment, which features an industry-leading design and uses Qualcomm Technologies-developed electronic hardware shared with the latest smartphones.

We’re committed to improving the driving experience and are so excited to be a part of the new Defender. To dive further into how the New Land Rover Defender is leading the auto industry into connectivity, we chatted with Peter Virk, Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Connected Car, Strategy, Future Technology and Infotainment:

OnQ: Why was it important to integrate LTE connectivity in the Defender? And why did Land Rover choose the Snapdragon 820Am Automotive Platform to power it?

Peter Virk: Jaguar Land Rover wants to give our customers the most intuitive and connected in-car experience possible, and 4G LTE wireless, with its high connectivity speeds and vast coverage, can achieve that. By using the Snapdragon 820Am, it’s taking advantage of the latest generation of advanced Snapdragon Mobile Platforms to deliver a responsive and intuitive user experience.

How can drivers benefit from LTE connectivity in the New Land Rover Defender?

Real-time traffic updates from the navigation system, online destination search, music streaming from online services like Spotify and TuneIn, in-car parking payments (in the UK only, initially), and the onboard Wi-Fi hotspot are a few improved user experiences enabled by this connectivity. And in the background, we can simultaneously host telematics services and SOTA updates with very little compromise.

Why two modems?

The New Land Rover Defender uses two modems to provide uninterrupted connectivity across vehicle functions. One modem, along with eSIM in the Pivi Pro system, looks after in-car entertainment. Meanwhile, another modem in the Vehicle Domain Controller looks after SOTA downloads, telematics for e-call, b-call and stolen vehicle tracking, plus remote interaction to precondition your vehicle.

With this dual approach, our customers can access a Wi-Fi hotspot, stream music, and access apps, all while the vehicle downloads updates for one of the 16 SOTA-ready electronic control modules. Neither connection is compromised in the process.

What new infotainment user experiences can this connectivity enable?

The Snapdragon 820Am supports the intuitive user experience provided by the new menu structures, supporting advanced graphics and connectivity and helping drivers and passengers access 50 percent of the vehicle functions directly from the homescreen. The Pivi Pro system can also recognize conference calls and passwords within calendar invites to provide one-touch dial-ins. Additionally, it allows drivers to navigate directly to a meeting location and, in the UK, even pay for parking in-car — all at the touch of a button.

Why is it important for the New Land Rover Defender’s infotainment system to be able to roam across multiple network providers in different regions?

With the ability to roam across a variety of local network providers, the New Defender is able choose the strongest signal available for each of its eSIMs. This enables optimum internet connectivity at all times and reduces the impact on connectivity of network blackspots from individual suppliers.

How can cloud-based technology improve the auto experience?

Cloud-based technology will make it easier for our customers to interact with their vehicles and, ultimately, make life easier. We aim to deliver new levels of customer convenience by using cloud-based solutions that will help keep users up-to-date and entertained at all times. This will vary between new content and services providers, and it allows our customers to interact with their vehicles remotely. This also allows us to link customer accounts to one user login that they can transfer from one vehicle to the next.

How can the AI capabilities powered by Snapdragon in the New Land Rover Defender improve both the driver and passenger experience?

AI powered by Snapdragon is facilitating superior personalization through account linking and the ability to remember your connected preferences and providers. The technology will also offer contextual searches based on the user’s account and location, like for weather, parking payments, and online searches for new destinations.

How does the Snapdragon 820Am help make the New Land Rover Defender safer?

The Snapdragon 820Am powers the infotainment technology in the vehicle, which is designed to reduce the cognitive load on the driver. It’s minimizing distractions and making it much simpler to carry out commonly performed tasks, thereby improving safety.

The Vehicle Domain Controller also has its own Snapdragon 820Am used to support our telematics and SOTA technology, which provides the latest software for 16 individual electronic modules covering various aspects of the vehicle. This means safety-critical elements will always have the latest and most up-to-date software.

Author: Vasanth Waran -Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies