Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Inflection AI raises $1.3B; $40B high-speed internet; 5G mmWave and 6G; SEC notifies Solarwind execs; Aston Martin and Lucid; a Lotus EV; Tesla’s NACS gains wider acceptance; hardware security survey; DARPA’s new program; prototype FireDrone.


Inflection AI raised $1.3 billion in a new funding round led by Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, and NVIDIA after raising $225 million in the first round to support the ongoing development of Pi, a “useful, friendly, and fun” AI. In partnership with CoreWeave and NVIDIA, Inflection aims to build the world’s largest AI cluster, comprised of 22,000 NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs.

The Biden-⁠Harris Administration announced more than $40 billion to “connect everyone in America to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by the end of the decade.” This is the largest internet funding in history, with awards of at least $107 million to every state.

Cellular technology is about to take a giant leap forward, but the packaging, assembly, and testing of chips used in 5G millimeter wave and the forthcoming 6G ecosystem will be significantly more complicated than anything used in the past.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a Form 8-K, known as a Wells Notice, to “certain current and former executive officers and employees” at SolarWinds in connection with a 2020 cyber attack that affected some big tech companies, including Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco, as well as government agencies, including NATO, the U.K. government, the European Parliament, and the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and State. The notice indicates “SEC staff has made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file a civil enforcement action against the recipients alleging violations of certain provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws.”

Amazon Web Services (AWS) plans to invest another $7.8 billion between now and 2030 to expand its Ohio data center operations and build out its technology infrastructure for cloud computing.

Electric/Clean Vehicles

Aston Martin will use Lucid’s powertrain and battery technology to produce a suite of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), including an electrified Aston Martin hypercar plus Sports, GT, and SUV models. Mercedes-Benz will continue to supply Aston Martin with powertrain and electric/electronic architectures.

Lotus introduced a pure electric SUV named Eletre, a dual-motor design based on its Elise gasoline-powered model, with a range of up to 373 miles. The company claims it will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in less than three seconds, and that it can charge from 10% to 80% in 20 minutes, adding up to 74 miles of range in 5 minutes.

Zeekr announced two electric vehicles (EVs) are available in Europe for pre-order. Model 001 has a range of about 620 km, or 385 miles, with 400kw peak power, while the X SUV has a range of about 440 km or 273 miles and 315 kw peak power.

Nissan refreshed its LEAF electric vehicle (EV) with a 40-kWh lithium-ion battery and an EPA-estimated range of up to 149 miles. The SV PLUS model has a 60-kWh battery with up to 212 miles of range.

Stellantis launched Free2move Charge, a charging hardware, software, and services ecosystem to meet the needs of electric vehicle (EV) drivers and reduce “charging anxiety.” The initiative launched in North America and will expand to Europe.

Chargepoint adopted Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector and said it will be available on new and existing charging stations. Volvo, meanwhile, announced its future North American cars will be equipped with NACS charging ports, starting 2025, and SAE said it will assist with the standardization of NACS’ design.

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority banned ads by Toyota and Hyundai after customers challenged the charging times and availability of charging points. Toyota claimed its bZ4X model could achieve 80% charge in about 30 minutes with a 150kW system, and Hyundai claimed the Ioniq 5 could be charged from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes using a 350kW charger. Both companies admitted the times were achieved in perfect factory conditions, according to the Guardian.

China’s EV sales rose 29% YoY in Q1 2023, with battery EVs (BEVs) making up nearly 70%, while sales of plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) surged 88% YoY, according to Counterpoint.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a total of $1.7 billion to various U.S. states and territories for transit projects, including nearly 850 zero-emission buses.

Transport and Other Automotive

Israeli startup NoTraffic raised $50 million in Series B funding for its AI-based hardware-software traffic management system that creates smart intersections, managing traffic flows based on real-time data.

Amazon’s Zoox announced its autonomous robo-taxis have been operating in Las Vegas for the past two weeks, ferrying up to four people in a one-mile loop around the company’s headquarters at up to 35 mph.

Urtopia introduced what it claims is the world’s first ChatGPT-integrated e-bike with built-in GPS navigation, voice recognition, anti-theft and riding safety systems, and data records.

An autonomous high-performance Maserati that uses cameras and radar provided by Continental, Robosense M1 lidar, redundant GNSS and IMU systems, and networking equipment from Cisco, was showcased by researchers at Milan Polytechnic University, according to SAE.

Fig. 1: Autonomous Maserati prototype. Source: SAE.org

Infineon released an automotive-qualified microphone with active noise cancellation (ANC) to ensure a quiet vehicle interior and reduce vehicle weight, plus two new barometric air pressure (BAP) sensors targeted at automotive applications.

Pervasive Computing

MLCommons announced new results from two MLPerf benchmark suites that measure performance and speed of advanced neural networks and AI models. Submitters included Azure, Dell, Fujitsu, Intel & Habana Labs, NVIDIA + CoreWeave, and xFusion.

Cadence said its AI-based Virtuoso Studio design tools and solutions were certified by Samsung Foundry. Joint customers now can leverage the tools when using Samsung’s mature and advanced node process design kits (PDKs).

Expedera announced its first European regional engineering development center will be built in Bath, U.K., following locations in Santa Clara, Shanghai, and Taipei. The design center will focus on edge AI inference and position the company to introduce its IP to local silicon designers.


Different types of hardware security attacks and their features, approaches, and solutions are investigated by researchers from the University of Louisiana, University of Mississippi, and Assiut University (Egypt). The attack types studied include side-channel, hardware trojan, IP piracy, counterfeiting, and reverse engineering.

While functional verification and safety used to be done exclusively pre-silicon, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain this separation. Aging can impact safety, sometimes in as-yet unknown ways, and new security threats often require device updates through firmware or software patches.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and CISA issued a Cybersecurity Information Sheet (CSI) explaining how organizations can “strengthen the security of their CI/CD pipelines against the threat of malicious cyber actors (MCAs).”

CISA also issued guidelines to its Secure Cloud Business Applications (SCuBA) project and an industrial control systems (ICS) advisory concerning Hitachi Energy_FOXMAN-UN and UNEM Products.

Canada’s Suncor suffered a cybersecurity attack that left some Petro-Canada stations unable to process credit cards. An investigation is ongoing.

Researchers at IOActive showed how an attacker could gain control of a drone by “injecting a specific EM glitch at the right time during a firmware update.”

DARPA introduced its Intelligent Generation of Tools for Security (INGOTS) program, which uses analysis and AI to measure vulnerabilities within modern, complex systems.

A new cybersecurity framework from researchers at MIT “allows users to study how different victim programs, attacker strategies, and obfuscation scheme configurations affect the amount of sensitive information that is leaked.”


Researchers at Ohio State University leveraged “vehicle to everything (V2X) communication technology to create a real-time implementable collision avoidance algorithm along with decision-making for a vehicle that communicates with other vehicles.”

A prototype drone can withstand temperatures of up to 200°C (392 F) for 10 minutes, allowing it to enter fire zones before first responders and send essential data. Called FireDrone, it’s “made of a new thermal aerogel insulation material and houses an inbuilt cooling system,” according to researchers at Imperial College London and Empa.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory aim to support the U.S. electric grid by using “tiny semiconducting chips to construct faster, safer, and more efficient power modules from scratch.”

Fig. 2: A power module. Source: ORNL

Looking to make better solid-state batteries, ORNL scientists “coupled neutron reflectometry with electrochemistry to measure the stable interphase between LiPON and lithium for the first time and found it was as thin as 7 nanometers,” showing it’s possible to make thin interfaces in solid-state batteries that provide excellent performance.

In Singapore, scientists found a way to 3D-print new materials, such as organic polymers and carbon-based materials like graphene, which can be printed or coated onto flexible substrates like plastics or fabrics, creating flexible and stretchable circuits.


 Find upcoming chip industry events here, including:

  • DAC 2023 – Design Automation Conference, July 9 – 13, San Francisco
  • Rambus Design Summit, July 18 and 19, online
  • 2023 Flash Memory Conference & Expo, August 8 – 10, Santa Clara, CA
  • 32nd USENIX Security Symposium, August 9 – 11, Anaheim, CA
  • SPIE Optics + Photonics 2023, August 20 – August 24. San Diego, CA
  • DARPA: Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI), August 22 – August 24, Seattle, WA

Upcoming webinars are here.

Further Reading

Read the latest automotive, security, and pervasive computing articles, or check out the latest newsletter.


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