The Job: Dr Grzegorz Ombach

Qualcomm’s vice-president of engineering

On any given day that Dr Grzegorz Ombach drives to work the likelihood is that the car he arrives in will be different from the one he returns home in.

“We have a number of electric cars for testing our new technology,” explains Qualcomm’s vice-president of engineering.

The technology that Ombach is referring to is the wireless charging system for electric vehicles that the firm has been developing.

“The Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3 and the Renault Fluence are pool cars to test the system, with a dashboard to inform us how many times we are using it and charging the cars per day,” he adds.

Initially Qualcomm’s plan is to bring about the introduction of stationary charging, requiring the EV to be equipped with a plate on its underside. When positioned over a base pad in the floor, the vehicle’s battery begins to charge.

The wireless technology is in the final stages of testing, and the first installations will be available in two years’ time.

At first, it will be embedded in the garages and nearby road surfaces of private homes, but the intention is that later there will also be applications in car parks and outside supermarkets.

Sustainable goal

Ombach has been responsible for overseeing the research and development of the technology, but is now looking at transitioning it from a theoretical concept to market-ready reality and is noticeably excited about it. Sat in Qualcomm’s Munich office in Germany, outside which heavy snow is falling unseasonably, he says: “From our point of view, the wireless technology is an enabler for future sustainable mobility. In the short term it could be for plug-in hybrids, especially on days like today when it is cold and you have to think about connecting the car to an external cable – maybe that is not that convenient.

“Already Tesla has shown that, with just a software upgrade, the car can park by itself, but the problem afterwards is that, if it is an electric car, you have to connect it somehow. But with wireless charging you do not have to think about that any more because it is going to happen automatically.”

tags: June 2016 Qualcomm Connectivity