Automotive Features Prominently At DAC 2017

Billions of dollars in M&A suggests the auto chip market is not slowing down any time soon.


Excellent automotive content features prominently at DAC 2017, which starts June 18th in my hometown of Austin. This of course is fitting given that Austin hosted the world’s first truly self-driving car ride just a few months ago. Our mayor, Steve Adler, called Austin the “the Kitty Hawk of driverless cars,” proving he has a future in tech marketing once he’s done with public service.

DAC deserves kudos for continuing to serve its community in new ways. The conference long ago evolved beyond its historical roots as a showcase of academic IC design automation research and now embraces a slew of more hands-on topics, including embedded software, IoT, IP and security. Automotive just happens to be the most compelling of these new focus areas.

Okay, so maybe I’m biased as director of automotive marketing at Mentor, a Siemens business (as of March). But there is a whole pile of evidence that supports this conclusion, including, over the last year or two, the most astonishing run of M&A activity the semiconductor industry has ever seen. A good chunk of this activity, most agree, is about jockeying for position in the auto industry, where the growth rate for semiconductor revenue is more than twice that in the more staid realms of PCs and phones. A few hundred billion dollars in bets suggests that the car will indeed turn out to be the ultimate mobile device, as we marketeers like to say.

That was my bet, anyway, when I jumped from Freescale-NXP to Mentor early last year. Back then I confidently blogged it was a “can’t miss career move,” though in truth, a few of my tech pals in Austin and Europe raised their eyebrows at the news. Any questioning stopped when I explained the scope of Mentor’s auto business. Our customer base is populated by (among others) 17 of the world’s top 20 carmakers, and our track record spans two decades and includes a growing portfolio of design tools and services covering all the automotive megatrends routinely in the news — autonomous vehicles, electrification, connectivity and advanced vehicle architecture. We boil down our offerings in less than a minute.

Prior to the Siemens acquisition, Mentor CEO Wally Rhines — who also has one of the best analyses of recent chip M&A activity you’ll read anywhere (see EE Times part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) — liked to point out that auto-related business accounted for about 20% of our overall $1B+ revenue, and that it was by far the fastest growing segment. Do some Googling and you’ll see this puts us in fairly rarefied company among tech and software companies jockeying for positioning in the new automotive supply chain.

Our DRS 360 Autonomous Driving Platform, which we announced at SAE World Congress in Detroit,  generated dozens of original news stories in countries around the world, a rarity in this age of collapsing media and perpetually recycled press releases. Without a doubt, though the biggest story of all came last fall, with the announcement of Siemens $4.5B bid to buy Mentor. The deal cleared its last hurdle in March and now Mentor is part of much more powerful and deep pocketed automotive enterprise.

Check out this from a March 30 open letter to Siemens and Mentor Graphics customers, by Tony Hemmelgarn, chief executive of Siemens PLM Software, our new parent organization: “Only Siemens provides integrated software and automation solutions across the entire value chain of our customers from initial conceptual design through manufacturing planning and execution through service and support of both the products and the plants that produce them. With the addition of Mentor Graphics, Siemens now delivers the most comprehensive digital design portfolio—from integrated circuit design, to system design and the complete Digital Enterprise.”

You can’t miss Siemens at DAC. Former CEO of Siemens PLM Software, Chuck Grindstaff will deliver the DAC keynote on Tuesday, June 9, in ballroom A. Since October, Chuck has been executive chairman of Siemens PLM Software.

Mentor, long a fixture and sponsor at DAC, will be there again this year, and automotive content looms large in our offerings. The big automotive themes you hear from the main stage will be echoed in our booths, where we’ll feature a stellar lineup of sessions, themselves reason enough to attend DAC if you’re working in the automotive space. The complete list of these sessions is below. I hope to see you there.

In the meantime, if you have questions, whether about the raw data sensor fusion or the best place for Austin-style tacos, drop me a note: [email protected].

Sessions at either Mentor or Verification Academy booths:

How Pre-Qualified Tools Simplify ISO 26262 Compliance (Monday, Tues, Weds)
Presenter: Joseph Dailey, Global Functional Safety Manager, Mentor
Products: Security

Test Solutions for the Automotive Market (Monday, Tues, Weds )
Presenter: Stephen Pateras, Product Marketing Director, BIST & Automotive Solutions, Mentor
Products: Tessent

Emerging Trends in AMS Verification Methodology for Automotive & IoT Devices (Monday)
Presenter: Sathish Balasubramanian, Product Marketing Manager, Mentor
Products: Verification

STMicroelectronics: Low-Power Design using High-Level Synthesis for Automotive Image Sensor (Tues)
Presenter: Marc Schmitz, Imaging Product Digital Design Manager, STMicroelectronics
Products: Catapult HLS, PowerPro

TowerJazz Automotive Reliability with RESCAR Checks and Calibre PERC Reliability Analysis (Tues)
Presenter: Alexandre Arriordaz, Technical Marketing Manager, Mentor
Presenter: Ofer Tamir, Senior Director, CAD, Design Enablement and Support, TowerJazz
Products: Calibre

Selective-hardening: Low-cost Soft-error Solution for Automotive (Tues)
Presenter: Amir Rahat, Vice President of Research & Development, Optima DA
Products: Verification

Implementation of Advanced Automotive ICs Using Mentor’s Digital Implementation Platform – On Semiconductor (Tues)
Presenter: Wai Yung, Design Engineer, OnSemi
Products: Oasys-RTL, Nitro-SoC

Avoiding the Potholes of ISO 26262 with Mentor’s Enterprise Verification Platform (Tues)
Presenter: Bryan Ramirez, Strategic Markets Manager, Mentor
Products: Questa

Impact of ISO 26262 on the Fabless Ecosystem (Tues)
Moderator: Joseph Davis, Director of Product Marketing for Calibre Interfaces, Mentor
Panelist: Lluis Paris, Director of IP Portfolio Marketing, TSMC
Products: Calibre

Veloce Brings Unique Solutions to the Automotive Market (Weds)
Presenter: Neill Mullinger, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Mentor
Products: Emulation

Communication-aware Pipelined Instruction Set Architecture for AUTOSAR-based Automotive ECUs (Weds)
Presenter: Ahmed Hamed, Mentor
Products: EDA

How Formal Reduces Fault Analysis for ISO 26262 (Weds)
Presenter: Doug Smith, Formal Applications Specialist, Mentor
Products: Verification

Enabling ISO 26262 Compliance with Calibre (Weds)
Presenter: Joseph Davis, Director of Product Marketing for Calibre Interfaces, Mentor
Products: Calibre

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