Qualcomm has sold off two business units in the same week, offloading its activities in electric vehicle charging and in e-health.
The company, which is distracted by rising competition and litigation in its core mobile chip business, has sold its Halo vehicle charging technology to WiTriCity, a spin-off of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in exchange for an unspecified minority stake in WiTriCity. It has also sold Qualcomm Life to Francisco Partners.
“In efforts to focus investments on core business and growing adjacent businesses that leverage our core technologies, we have made the decision to divest Qualcomm Life to Francisco Partners and Qualcomm Halo to WiTricity,” the company said in a statement
Qualcomm has been developing Halo for at least seven years and had created an entire system for charging an electric vehicle via a wireless ground pad. The solution integrated the power conversion, tuning, wireless power transfer, magnetics, control, communications and safety systems. Qualcomm, Renault and a French R&D center have also been developing an ‘electric road’ technology which could recharge cars while they are moving.
WiTriCity is also a developer of wireless charging technology and said the combination of the two efforts would simplify the ratification of a standard to ensure interoperability between carmakers. It says there are forecast to be over 120m electric vehicles in use by 2030 and that $50bn will have been invested in charging infrastructure by that time.
The Halo deal increases WiTriCity’s number of patents and patent applications related to wireless charging to 1,500. The firm was founded by MIT professor Marin Soljačić, and spun out of the university in 2007. Last month, it joined with Honda to demonstrate a wireless vehicle-to-grid charging model at the Consumer Electronics Show, based on the vendor’s DRIVE 11 system.
Francisco Partners said it would rename Qualcomm Life, calling it Capsule Technologies, and the business will continue operating in two business segments. The first, to be called Capsule, will provide medical device connectivity solutions for hospitals. The second, 2net, will supply a medical-grade mobile connectivity platform.