DAVE LAMMERS, Contributing Writer
Automotive semiconductors will be “the biggest growth driver” for the semiconductor industry in the coming years, “something that has never happened before,” said Gaurav Gupta, a research vice president at Gartner. The market research firm recently revised its 2023 semiconductor industry forecast, moving down from several percentage points of growth for next year to minus 2 percent, as consumer spending has proven sensitive to macro-economic trends.
Speaking at the “Smart Mobility” session during SEMICON West, Gupta said electric vehicles and automated driving features promise to take the semiconductor content of a car to an average of $1,440 by 2023 (FIGURE 1). By then, half of the top OEMs in the car industry will be designing their own chips, he added.
Advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) Level 2 (including autonomous obstacle avoidance and autonomous parking) and Level 3 (where the vehicle handles emergency braking and other situations calling for an immediate response) will provide much of the growth. However, fully self-driving vehicles (Levels 4 and 5) will remain in the single digits over the next decade in terms of market penetration, Gupta said.
Leopold Beer, a vice president at Bosch Semiconductors, said Bosch adheres to a vision of the “software defined vehicle,” with automotive semiconductors being capable of over-the-air updates. Rather than have hundreds of controllers in a vehicle, Beer said Bosch envisions a car have three main functional blocks, with sensors and actuators feeding information into several powerful central control units. These processors would be updateable, with functions plugged in and pulled out as needs evolve.
“I have never seen so much controversy in our industry,” Beer said, noting that safety concerns create levels of complexity not seen in consumer systems. “A car is not a smart phone,” he said, adding that his company will invest about $3 billion in its Dresden fab over the next few years.
Read the full article, which includes sections on difficult technical challenges, adversarial scenarios and WBG substrate challenges, in Semiconductor Digest magazine.