Week in Review: IoT, Security, Autos

Marvell & NAV Alliance; drone bill; Hyundai’s $35B plan; Intel’s edge play; 7nm certifications.


The Networking for Autonomous Vehicles Alliance announces that Marvell Semiconductor is joining the NAV Alliance following its acquisition of Aquantia. Fourteen companies are in the industry organization, including Bosch, Continental, Nvidia, and Volkswagen. “The NAV Alliance is developing the platforms that will create the future of transportation and we believe that Multi-Gig Ethernet is at its core,” Will Chu, vice president and general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Marvell Semiconductor, said in a statement. “We are excited to work alongside other industry leaders to accelerate the development of the innovations that will drive the automotive industry.”

Mentor, a Siemens Business, says its entire Tessent software suite is certified for Samsung Electronics’ 7-nanometer Low Power Plus process technology, which leverages extreme ultraviolet lithography. “Samsung has a long track record of partnering with market leaders in automotive, AI, and other fast-growing industries where reliability and quality are especially critical,” Joe Sawicki, executive vice president of IC EDA for Mentor, said in a statement. “By achieving Samsung 7nm qualification, Mentor’s Tessent DFT platform helps customers take advantage of industry-leading hierarchical DFT and low-impact in-system test functionality. In addition, Tessent Automotive-grade ATPG with cell-aware test further helps Samsung customers to produce the highest quality production test.”

Rambus reports that SEAKR Engineering, a provider of advanced electronics for space applications, chose the Rambus 28G multi-protocol LR SerDes PHY and the CryptoManager Root of Trust for its next-generation ASIC and FPGA designs. Rambus Chief Operating Officer Sean Fan said in a statement, “Leading-edge IP solutions are mission critical to addressing the system design challenges for aerospace and satellite communications. Rambus best-in-class power, performance and area (PPA), including versatile and multi-protocol SerDes solutions and silicon-proven architecture were key differentiators in SEAKR’s decision.”

NXP Semiconductors, a leader in secure connectivity for embedded applications, plans to deploy Synopsys‘ native automotive design solutions to improve quality-of-results (QoR) and time-to-results (TTR) for its next-generation, safety-critical system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs, according to Synopsys. The accelerating evolution of vehicle technologies means that more automotive chips are required to satisfy higher automotive safety integrity levels (ASILs) for autonomous driving and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). To meet higher ASILs, functional safety mechanisms, such as triple-mode redundancy (TMR) and dual-core lock-step (DCLS), can be used. These mechanisms mitigate random hardware failures in automotive designs, such as single-event upsets (SEUs), but can present TTR, capacity, and QoR design challenges which can be significantly alleviated using Synopsys’ native automotive designs.

Synopsys also announced that its Fusion Design Platform and Custom Design Platform support Samsung Foundry’s 7-nanometer Low Power Plus process technology for 2.5DIC Multi-Die Integration. The electronic design automation company also worked with Samsung Foundry to provide automotive chip design offerings to meet automotive safety integrity levels for autonomous driving and advanced driver-assistance systems.

Cadence Design Systems reports that its custom and analog/mixed-signal IC design flow is certified for Samsung Foundry’s 5-nanometer Low-Power Early process technology, while the company’s new automotive reference flow is certified for Samsung Foundry’s 8-nanometer Low-Power Plus process technology, and the 3DIC advanced packaging integration flow is certified for Samsung Foundry’s Multi-Die Integration flow based upon the 7LPP process technology.

AI researchers at Nvidia and King’s College London employed federated learning, an approach to machine learning that doesn’t require a single data lake for training models, to train a neural network for brain tumor segmentation.

Uber Technologies agreed to acquire a majority equity stake in Cornershop, a food delivery service operating in Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Peru. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Cornershop was founded in 2015. Three years later, Walmart made a deal to buy Cornershop for $225 million; the proposed transaction was scuttled this year by antitrust regulators in Mexico. The Uber deal must pass scrutiny from government regulators. Cornershop raised more than $20 million in venture capital funding from such investors as Accel, Endeavor Global, Creandum, ALLVP, MT Network, and Jackson Square Ventures.

Sequans Communications says its Monarch system-in-package and Monarch GM01Q module are approved for use by Japan’s three largest mobile network operators. Both devices are based on the company’s Monarch chip for LTE-M and narrowband Internet of Things networks. The company introduced the Monarch NB02S NB-IoT module, touted as a module-as-a-SIM product. It is based on the second-generation Monarch N NB-IoT chip.

On Semiconductor and self-driving car simulation software company AiMotive are collaborating on prototype sensor fusion platforms for automotive. NextChip also plans to put AiMotive’s aiWare neural network inference accelerator IP into NextChip’s Apache5 Imaging Edge Processor being delivered in Q4 2020.

Internet of Things
Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced a bill this week that would enable cities, Native American tribes, and states to regulate the use of small, low-flying drones, while giving property owners more control over flights by unmanned aerial vehicles. The proposed Drone Integration and Zoning Act of 2019 would set a 200-foot ceiling on drone use that wouldn’t be restricted by Federal Aviation Administration rules. Lee was among a bipartisan group of four senators who sponsored Senate Bill 1272, the Drone Federalism Act of 2017, which died in committee.

Qualcomm will work with Microsoft to develop chips for the Azure Sphere Internet of Things operating system. The chips will have hardware-level security and will be automatically preconfigured with Azure Sphere out of the box.

Development and deployment of 5G cellular communications technology will benefit the Industrial IoT adoption, according to Cisco Systems. “The Industrial IoT market is among the most fractured especially amongst the verticals like health care and automotive,” says Lee Doyle, principal analyst with Doyle Research. “Large companies such as Cisco, HP and IBM have been challenged to address it because it is so fractured. It’s not at all clear any one of them has the overall network architecture to handle it all.”

Intel signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pivot Technology‘s Smart Edge technology, which can provide on-premise cloud-like services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal provides another stake in the ground for Intel’s x86 for edge computing, a space that so far is not well-defined and where there is no dominant instruction-set architecture.

Rigado brought out its Edge Connect Platform, part of its Edge-as-a-Service offering. Features of the platform include plug-and-play connectivity for Bluetooth devices, configurable edge data processing, and deploying and managing custom IoT applications in the secure Ubuntu Core snap framework.

Internet of Cows: Researchers at Tarleton State University’s Southwest Regional Dairy Center in Stephenville, Texas, outfitted their 400 dairy cattle with digital tracking devices to monitor their eating, physical activity, and sleeping. Each cow wears two Fitbit-like devices to track activity and to track milk production. The Texas herd averages between 1,000 and 2,000 steps a day.

IBM and McAfee joined with 16 more companies and organizations banding together to develop open-source software and cybersecurity industry standards, forming the Open Cybersecurity Alliance within the OASIS international consortium. The average enterprise will deploy up to 47 cybersecurity tools and spend $18.4 million on an annual basis yet monitoring and achieving return-on-investment with those expenditures is difficult to quantify, according to AttackIQ and the Ponemon Institute.

This week in Huawei – despite the U.S. government’s blacklisting of Huawei Technologies, the company reported revenue of $86 billion for the nine months from January through September, an increase of almost 25% from a year earlier. It also said it has signed more than 60 5G contracts around the world, compared with 50 contracts earlier this year. Meanwhile, member states of the European Union issued a joint risk assessment report on implementation of 5G technology. Without specifically mentioning Huawei, the report warns of risks potentially posed by “non-EU state or state-backed actors.” Germany, for its part, will not exclude Huawei as a supplier of equipment for 5G mobile networks, a clear repudiation of American opposition to the embattled Chinese vendor. In other news, Huawei introduced more 5G antennas, featuring massive multiple input and multiple output technology, meant for use by China Mobile and other leading network operators in China for upgrading their 5G infrastructure.

Emsisoft reports ransomware attacks are becoming more focused and targeted, according to data gathered during the second and third quarters of this year. “While the total number of ransomware attacks has declined, there has been a significant increase in the number of high-impact attacks targeting companies and public entities,” says Fabian Wosar, chief technology officer at Emsisoft.

Kaspersky Lab says half of small to medium-size businesses are struggling to detect cybersecurity incidents. Meanwhile, a report by the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security shows that two-thirds of SMBs have experienced a data breach in the past 12 months.

GlobalFoundries will offer Arm’s on-chip security IP for SoCs that are used in cellular IoT applications, based on GlobalFoundries’ 22nm FD-SOI platform. The crypto cores and high-speed engines will be used to prevent prevent physical tampering and attacks.

A research team at ESET, which makes security software, has identified three new malware families stemming from a Russian hacker group known as the Dukes, or alternatively as Cozy Bear or APT29. The group is believed to be responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee prior to the 2016 U.S. election.

Mississippi Auditor Shad White surveyed 125 state agencies, boards, commissions, and universities about their cybersecurity measures. Fifty-four of those entities did not even respond to the inquiries. Of the 71 respondents, more than half have failed to meet at least 75% of Mississippi’s cybersecurity requirements.

A Russian group known as Turla is attempting to take fingerprints of Transport Layer Security-encrypted web traffic through modifying Chrome and Firefox browsers, according to Kaspersky Lab. Turla is believed to operate under the protection of the Russian government, it was said. “We registered two initial infection schemes: Reductor spreads by either infecting popular software distributions (Internet Downloader Manager, WinRAR, etc. and, for at least one victim, through a popular warez website over HTTP); or its decryptor/dropper is spread using COMpfun’s ability to download files on already infected hosts,” Kaspersky said.

The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business announced its Leadership in Health Care Privacy and Security Risk Management certificate program. The first professional program of its kind in the U.S. aims to produce cybersecurity leaders who can manage risk in America’s health-care systems.

Small businesses are the target of 43% of online attacks, yet just 14% of those firms are prepared to defend themselves, this analysis notes. “Modern IT infrastructures are more complex and sophisticated than ever, and the amount of virtual ground that we’ve got to safeguard has also grown exponentially,” says Jesse Rothstein, chief technology officer of ExtraHop, an online security provider. “From mobile to desktop interactions, cybercriminals can launch thousands of digital attacks designed to compromise your operations at every turn, only one of which ever needs to connect to cause serious disruption.” Accenture estimates cybercrime will cost businesses around the world $5.2 trillion within the next five years.

Google introduced a USB-C security key in its Titan product line, now available from the Google Store for $40. Yubico partnered with Google to produce the new key, which is compatible with Android, Chrome OS, macOS, and Windows devices.

Symantec revamped its endpoint portfolio with the introduction of Symantec Endpoint Security. “The Symantec platform now offers tremendous breadth and depth, with a new level of simplification that many security teams will be surprised to see,” Dave Gruber of Enterprise Strategy Group said in a statement. “Leveraging a single agent, the new Symantec Endpoint Security platform brings this vision to life, while adding compelling new breach assessment and prevention capabilities, support for in-house threat hunting activities with analytics and managed threat hunting services where organizations lack resources or skills.”

Ambarella said its earnings won’t be significantly affected by the Commerce Department’s placing 28 Chinese organizations on its entity list, including Hangzhou Hikvision, a supplier of video surveillance systems that is a major customer for the video chip vendor.

BlackBerry announced that its CylancePROTECT and CylanceOPTICS tools are being integrated with Chronicle’s Backstory security analytics platform, beginning in this quarter. “Endpoint data is invaluable for any organization’s security operation, but it can be noisy and maintaining historical data is costly,” Eric Cornelius, chief technology officer at BlackBerry Cylance, said in a statement. “We believe integrating BlackBerry Cylance threat protection and detection capabilities with Chronicle’s Backstory will give organizations the scale and speed needed to protect their data and employees from always evolving cyber threats.”

International Data Corp. estimates worldwide 2019 spending on security-related hardware, services, and software will reach $106.6 billion, representing an increase of 10.7% from 2018. By 2023, such expenditures will hit $151.2 billion for a compound annual growth rate of 9.4%. Spending on security services will be $47 billion in 2019, ahead of a 11.2% CAGR for the next five years, IDC forecasts.

Mentor and Honda are teaming up to to reduce vibration in start-stop engines when they restart. Start-stop engines have not been adopted as widely as they could be due to the vibration of the vehicle when it turns on and off. Mentor and Honda want to create a solution that will “reduce vibrations at restart of hybrid engines while balancing fuel economy and performance,” according to a press release. Mentor also has joined Arm‘s Functional Safety Partnership program, an ecosystem of Arm partners that specialize in functional safety or functional safety tools.

Hyundai Motor Group plans to spend about $34.8 billion on mobility, autonomous vehicles, and advanced automotive technology by 2025. The automotive manufacturer and two of its affiliates last month invested $1.6 billion in a joint venture with Aptiv, an American self-driving tech startup. “Hyundai has to buy technology from someone else because it lacks software technology. Even though it has a lot of cash, this could become a financial burden if its earnings deteriorate,” said Esther Yim, an analyst at Samsung Securities.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology added Tesla to its list of approved automotive manufacturers, clearing the way for the $2 billion factory the self-driving car company is building near Shanghai. Tesla said it intends to assemble at least Model 3 cars a week at the Shanghai plant by the end of 2019.

Ford Motor is teaming with Volkswagen and Amazon to develop a network of charging stations for electric vehicles with 12,000 locations in North America, offering more than 35,000 charge plugs. Ford is investing more than $11 billion in EVs and hopes to get a majority of its vehicle sales from them by 2022.

Porsche this week debuted the Taycan 4S, a third version of its initial EV. The new version will be available with two battery options, priced starting at $103,800 and $110,380.

Harley-Davidson stopped production and deliveries of its LiveWire electric motorcycle due to a non-standard condition with the model. The company does not plan to recall e-motorcycles already purchased and in use. “We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well,” the motorcycle manufacturer said in a statement. “We are in close contact with our LiveWire dealers and customers and have assured them they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles. As usual, we’re keeping high quality as our top priority.”

ON Semiconductor will work with AImotive on developing future generations of sensor data conditioning hardware platforms. ON will contribute high-definition camera and radar sensors, pre-processor chipsets, and technical expertise, while AImotive will provide advanced artificial intelligence-based perception algorithms, hardware acceleration, and simulation capabilities.

Renault CEO Thierry Bollore was forced out of his post during a board meeting, a move that he decried as a “coup.” The board designated Chief Financial Officer Clotilde Delbos as interim CEO. She joined the car company in 2012. The board also named Olivier Murguet and Jose-Vicente de los Mozos as deputy managing directors to work alongside Delbos.

Nvidia’s Drive Labs division came up with AutoHighBeamNet, a component of the AutoDrivingBeam module in the chip company’s Drive Software, which uses AI to keep a car’s high beams from producing glare for other drivers.

The Moral Machine project, a collaboration among the Toulouse School of Economics, the Artificial and Natural Intelligence Toulouse Institute, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, considers the options that autonomous vehicles may follow under difficult conditions. It is a modern version of the classic trolley problem, a though experiment in ethics.

Apollo Global Management is acquiring Tech Data for about $5 billion. The private equity firm is offering $130 a share for TECD stock, a 16.76% premium from Tuesday’s closing price of $111.34 a share. Tech Data is a distributor of IT products.

Thoma Bravo agreed to acquire Britain’s Sophos Group for about $3.8 billion. The deal would add to the private equity firm’s cybersecurity portfolio.

EQT Partners is in talks to purchase EdgeConneX of Herndon, Va., an operator of data centers, for at least $2.5 billion, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. EdgeConneX is currently owned by Providence Equity Partners.

Eaton agreed to sell its Cooper Lighting Solutions business to Signify of the Netherlands for $1.4 billion in cash. The proposed transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2020. Eaton’s Lighting business provides light-emitting diode lighting and control offerings. The unit posted 2018 sales of $1.7 billion, with customers in commercial, industrial, municipal, and residential markets.

Intel will acquire the Smart Edge platform from Toronto-based Pivot Technology Solutions for $27 million. Smart Edge will help the chipmaker in addressing edge computing for 5G networks. The transaction is expected to close during this quarter. About 25 Smart Edge employees will be joining Intel’s Network and Custom Logic Group.

Accenture acquired Happen, a London-based firm that uses proprietary methods, frameworks, and digital tools to help clients generate new ideas, products, and services. Financial terms weren’t revealed. Happen was established in 2007 and has customers in the consumer goods, food and beverage, life science, and retail industries. Its employees, who also work in Amsterdam and New Jersey, will join the innovation practice within Accenture’s Products Industry X.0 business.

Cognizant Technology Solutions agreed to acquire Contino, a technology consulting firm. Contino has about 350 employees in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. The firm partners with Amazon Web Services and has expertise in Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Honda R&D acquired Drivemode, a developer of smartphone applications, based in Redwood City, Calif. This is said to be Honda’s first startup acquisition.

SKF agreed to acquire Presenso, a developer of AI-based predictive maintenance software, based in Haifa, Israel. The purchase is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

Volkswagen is reportedly considering options for its Lamborghini brand, such as a sale or an initial public offering, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. A move may come before the end of 2020, it was said.

San Francisco-based Postmates formally postponed its IPO plans. The on-demand delivery company raised $225 million in private funding a couple of weeks ago, taking pressure off the startup to go public. GPI Capital made the investment in Postmates, now valued at $2.4 billion.

Telecom Italia is reportedly considering a spinoff of its 23 data centers in Italy. An IPO may value the business at €1 billion (about $1.11 billion).


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