Automotive Foundries


The race to win a piece of the automotive electronics business has now reached the foundry level, and right now it's not clear exactly how this is going to work. This is uncharted territory for everyone. The build-out of electronics for assisted and autonomous driving is brand new. For existing cars, most of the chips being used are off-the-shelf microcontrollers, commodity MEMS sensors, and... » read more

China’s Ambitious Automotive Plans


China has big plans for cars—and other related markets. After years of trailing behind Japanese, European and U.S.-based carmakers in automotive technology, reliability, status, and even market share within its own political borders, the country is making a concerted push into internally developed and manufactured assisted- and self-driving vehicles. The strategy plays out well for China o... » read more

eFPGA IP Density, Portability And Scalability


FPGA chip companies generally build a new generation of FPGAs every ~3 years when there is a major advance in process technology. They pick one foundry, one node, one variation of that node and do full-custom circuit design with typically the maximum or near-maximum number of metal layers in order to get the highest density FPGA they can. It takes them most of the 3 years to do the complex e... » read more

Chiplets Gaining Steam


Building chips from pre-verified chiplets is beginning to gain traction as a way of cutting costs and reducing time to market for heterogeneous designs. The chiplet concept has been on the drawing board for some time, but it has been viewed more as a possible future direction than a necessary solution. That perception is beginning to change as complexity rises, particularly at advanced nodes... » read more

Recipe For Automotive IC Design Success


“Not a computer science project!” That’s how an automotive IC design manager I worked with once described IC design in a product definition meeting. I liked his viewpoint. What he meant was: This is a business, not an academic exercise or homework assignment. There are competitors, customers, and opportunity for success and failure. Despite the massive opportunity for the chip industry, d... » read more

Faster Commoditization In Cars


Sensors are at the heart of assisted and autonomous driving, but even before these devices hit the road the average selling prices of these components will have to fall far enough to be affordable to a mass audience. Achieving economies of scale is what has made the semiconductor industry successful over the past half century. It has enabled semiconductors to proliferate and for electronics ... » read more

Evolution Of The MCU


Microcontrollers are taking on a variety of new and much more complex computing tasks, evolving from standalone chips to more highly integrated devices that can rival complex microprocessors. Microcontroller units (MCUs) are being designed into everything from assisted and autonomous driving to smart cards. They often are the central processing elements for a slew of connected devices that i... » read more

MCU Sales Up in 2017 And 2018


Microcontroller (MCU) sales are expected to grow over 9% this year while units increase over 16%. IoT and automotive are the major reason for the growth in general MCUs; however, the product group has been transitioning into several distinct segments that are being buried within the data of the broad MCU market. Over the past five years total MCU revenues have essentially remained flat; however... » read more

How To Build A Trillion Connected Things


A trillion is a big number. A broadcaster reads about 1,000 words in a five-minute newscast. At that rate, it would take 6,000 years at that rate to finish a trillion-word newscast. We’re on a path in the technology industry to build and connect a trillion devices in the coming years. How are we going to do that, given the scale and sheer size of the task? Is it achievable in the time f... » read more

The Great Skills Race


The next phase of the technology race will be fought with qualified people—but not necessarily the same people in the same markets or with the same skill sets. For the past half century, technology wars have been won and lost with inexpensive labor and increasing amounts of automation. This can be traced from the United States in the 1960s to Japan in the 1970s, Korea starting in the mid-... » read more

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