While Qualcomm made a big play at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show with its latest "snapdragon" processor, it was a $450,000+ prototype Rolls-Royce Phantom (below) that seemed to draw the most attention at the company's massive convention encampment.
The car in question is a one-of-kind concept, fully electric luxury machine, weighing more than 6,000 lbs. It's charged entirely without plug-ins via use of Qualcomm's magnetic resonance wireless charging pad. The pad — outwardly a thick, black rubber mat roughly the size of a large beach towel — connects to a plate affixed to the bottom of the car. The magnetic induction between pad and plate juice the Rolls for a range of about 125 miles.
The driver simply must park any plate-bearing vehicle over the active mat within reasonable spacing parameters to begin the charging process. The pad can charge any standard manufactured vehicle, including higher riding SUVs.
The pad itself is safe to human touch, even when charging a vehicle. However, since the magnetic field can heat metal and potentially cause a fire – Qualcomm's pad has the AI to detect even small bits of metal and cut out the magnetic field. The car won't charge while the metal is there, but the metal won't threaten a car fire, either.
I tested the mat's safety features with everything from my iPhone to a paperclip. No metal passed undetected.
WIth pads like the Qualcomm effort moving past the testing stage and looking to be implemented into the country's energy infrastructure, it looks like the days of the plug-in electric car are numbered.