Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

EV weight a hazard; Apple may make its own screens; Semtech acquires Sierra Wireless; CES.


The head of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Jennifer Homendy, voiced concern about the impact of heavier electric vehicles (EVs) will have in crashes with smaller cars with internal combustion engines (ICEs). Homendy compared the weight of the GMC Hummer and the Ford F-150’s EV to ICE version and found the EVs are 2,000 to 6,000 pounds heavier. The extra weight in EVs is in the batteries. Eventually, lighter weight batteries may ameliorate the issue.

Apple will begin making its display screens in-house by 2024, starting with the highest-end Apple Watches, according to Bloomberg. Apple is switching from OLED to microLED, which use less power because it does not require backlighting.

Pervasive computing

Semtech has acquired Sierra Wireless for approximately US$1.2 billion. A maker of ultra low-power LoRa end devices, Semtech expects the addition of Sierra Wireless’ cellular IoT and device-to-Cloud IoT, will transaction nearly doubles Semtech’s annual revenue and adds approximately US$100 million of high-margin IoT Cloud services recurring revenues. Sierra Wireless’ senior leaders will join Semtech’s leadership team.

Arteris acquired Semifore, a company that makes hardware/software interface (HSI) technology for SoC development.

Some fun gadgets from CES include Fuu, the fufuly robotic cushion that encourages you to relax by picking up on your breathing and heartbeat. CES’ award gallery shows some interesting innovations over a wide range of industries, including medical and senior care, such as Blisstechs BEDSOREEM, which looks for bed sores in the bedridden. It uses machine vision cameras and piezoelectric sensors.

Chipletz is using Siemens EDA’s tools for design and verification of its Smart Substrate IC packaging technology. That technology makes it easer to add chips from multiple vendors onto the same substrate.

Automotive, mobility

PDF Solutions and proteanTecs are working together on combined solutions for semiconductor analytics in the automotive and data center segments.

The transition to EVs will benefit 90% of the US vehicle-owning households with lower energy costs, according to a study by the University of Michigan.

At CES, Arbe showed off its 360° radar-based perception system that tracks all the free space around the vehicle using AI and long-range front, back and surround radars, gleaning high res data. BTE exhibited a multi-purpose hydrogen refueller and fuel-cell powered UGV (unmanned ground vehicle).

Infineon extended its working relationship with Resonac, which makes silicon carbide wafers, in order to avoid any future supply glitches. The deal involves six-inch wafers initially, moving to 8-inch at some future date. Infineon also inked a definitive agreement with Micross Components for Micross to purchase Infineon’s HiRel DC-DC converter business, including its hybrid and custom board-based power products. Infineon intends to focus more on its semiconductor development for HiRel.

Bi-directional charging of EV batteries may sound attractive, but there is much work to do to ensure it doesn’t shorten the life of batteries, including everything from new materials to better control.


Security vulnerabilities in Cisco routers for small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs) could allow lateral movement to eavesdrop or hijack VPNs according to a story in Dark Reading. Cisco also announced vulnerabilities on SMB routers that are at end of life and no longer supported. That means no security patches. The vulnerability allows attackers to get around authentication or execute arbitrary commands on the underlying operating system.

Are RISC-V chips more secure than proprietary processors because they’re open source and have more people working with them? Or are they more vulnerable because more people have access to them?

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