What just happened? Qualcomm has agreed to purchase Israeli-based automotive safety startup Autotalks. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but sources familiar with the agreement told TechCrunch that Qualcomm is paying between $350 million and $400 million for the company.

Autotalks was founded in 2008 and specializes in vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technologies – that is, systems that help a vehicle communicate with anything that could affect it, or that it could affect.

Qualcomm said it plans to implement Autotalks' standalone safety solutions into its Snapdragon Digital Chassis product portfolio. Nakul Duggal, SVP and GM of Qualcomm's automotive division, noted they have been investing in V2X R&D and deployment since 2017 and believe that as the industry continues to mature, such solutions will be crucial for user safety and smart transportation systems.

Scott Miller, a General Motors VP that works with vehicle software and operating systems, believes V2X applications hold several promising benefits that, along with the continued electrification of autos, could transform the customer experience.

Others including Continental, Quectel, Renault, and Harman also spoke positively about the two companies coming together.

It's inevitable that technology is eventually going to lead to a solution that replaces human drivers behind the wheel. We are already well on the path but in the grand scheme of things – to reach a point where every vehicle on the road is controlled by technology and done so safely – there is still an enormous amount of work to be done.

What exactly will that future look like? Will human-driven cars eventually be banned outright? It seems likely given our unpredictability, especially in a well-oiled machine like a fully autonomous transportation system where everything is timed perfectly for maximum efficiency. The right to drive is not the sort of thing that everyone is just going to give up overnight but over a long period of time, society could be conditioned to change their opinion on driving and view it as a hassle rather than a choice.

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