The Global Smart Vehicle Executive Summit Discussed Trends and Applications of Automotive Chips in Smart and Electric Vehicles

 Publish Date :2022/10/19

A report by WHO estimated road traffic accidents cause approximately 1.3 million casualties every year and is estimated to cost most countries approximately 3% of their GDP; which globally is expected to reach USD 94 Trillion in 2022. This means the global economic cost of traffic accidents in 2022 can reach up to USD 2.82 Trillion not even counting the human lives and injuries incurred. As a result, road safety solutions have seen rapid increases in demand; whether assisted driving systems such as ADAS, autonomous driving, or other smart solutions that can be implemented in vehicles today.

In addition, government commitment to achieving their net zero goals will also have a major impact on businesses and industrial trends. This effect can be seen in the growing interest in smart vehicles and electric vehicles with in turn raises the demands for automotive electronics and chips. SEMI estimated that by 2028, the global automotive electronics market will be worth over USD 400 billion dollars with a CAGR of 7.9%

Focusing on the trends of smart vehicles and technologies within the supply chain and to share insights on the developments of smart vehicles and automotive semiconductors, the Asia Silicon Valley-Major League IoT, Taiwan IOT Technology and Industry Association (TwIoTA), Taiwan Advanced Automotive Technology Development Association (TADA), SEMI Taiwan, and COMPUTEX co-organized the Global Smart Vehicle Executive Summit. Held during SEMICON Taiwan on September 15, the event started with opening remarks by Dr. Frank Huang, Chairman of TADA and Dr. Ming-Hsin Kung, Minister of the National Development Council.

The speakers who joined the events were: Dr. Cheng-Ming Lin, Director of Automotive & MCU Business Development of TSMC; Mr. Giuseppe Izzo, Managing Director of ST Taiwan and Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific Region of STMicroelectronics; Dr. Chris Hung, Vice President and Director General of MIC, III; Mr. Simon Teng, Senior Director of Automotive, Arm; and Mr. Jason Lin, General Manager of Automotive Product Center, Sunplus Technology.

Due to an agreement with one of the speakers, we could not broadcast a segment of the forum, but the summary of the session is available in this press release.

Taiwan’s Automotive Semiconductor and Automotive Module Development Has Just Started

Dr. Frank Huang, the Chairman of TADA shared that in the past, traditional car manufacturers use USD 500 to 600 worth of semiconductors in every car. As a result, car manufacturers generally do not pay attention to automotive electronics and the price of automotive chips are relatively low. However, this trend changed when Tesla adopted a modular design for their EVs. This modularity allows manufacturers to swap out parts that do not work or are not needed as well as shortens the time required for testing and verification. It also opens up opportunities for computer module or component manufacturers to enter the automotive market and develop cars with more AI functions and autonomous driving.

From a conversation with C.C. Wei, the President and Co-CEO of TSMC; it became clear that only 20% of the automotive chips (mostly related to ADAS) use advanced processes under 14nm. While the other 80% are still using the more mature process of 28 nm; so, everyone has a chance.

Dr. Huang stated that the role of semiconductors has changed dramatically and automotive electronics are undergoing major changes. The value of semiconductors inside automotive chips is likely to increase from USD 500 to USD 2000 or even USD 5000 for the high-end models. Therefore, the developments of automotive semiconductors and modules in Taiwan have just begun. IC design houses are expected to advance together with the wafer foundries. The entire Taiwan semiconductor industry chain is expected to grab the business opportunities from smart vehicles and electric vehicles.

Taiwan has Great Opportunities in Smart Electric Vehicles

Dr. Ming-Hsin Kung, Minister of National Development Council said that according to SEMI’s estimates; the global semiconductor market value is expected to reach USD 625 billion this year. The main reason is because semiconductor applications have grown in recent years. In addition to the traditional communications applications, now many different vertical fields such as IoT, AIoT, etc. require semiconductors. Automotive electronics now are the biggest and most difficult applications; especially in smart and electric vehicles.

Taiwan has a strong semiconductor industry which creates great business opportunities. At the same time, this means Taiwan will also be responsible for the global technology developments as any slowdown in Taiwan’s semiconductor industry will have a global impact; especially in digital transformation and net-zero efforts. The dual trends of digital transformation and net-zero in the automotive industry can be represented by smart electric vehicles which is also an integral part of net-zero transformation efforts.

Minister Kung added that Taiwan has faced challenges in developing traditional ICE vehicles, but Taiwanese manufacturers have a great opportunity with electric vehicles. For example, Tesla’s prototype cars were developed in Taiwan and today 27 of Tesla’s main suppliers for components and modules are Taiwanese. The Asian Silicon Valley – Major League IoT now has more than 400 members and by participating in the Global Smart Vehicle Executive Summit, member organizations can focus on the development trends of smart vehicles and electric vehicles as well as find potential partners. At the same time, the government will be supportive in the development of smart electric vehicles and are ready to aid in this endeavor such as with investment/ funding, talent cultivation through semiconductor colleges, and more.

TSMC can Support the Development of Global Smart & Electric Vehicles

Dr. Cheng-Ming Lin, Director of Automotive & MCU Business Development of TSMC said in the first keynote of the forum that the automotive semiconductor market is expected to grow rapidly at a CAGR of 16% over the 2021 – 2026 period and will reach the value of USD 8.5 billion by 2026. TSMC has a complete technology and sufficient production capacity to support the automotive industry. As long as OEMs can plan ahead and prepare enough buffer stocks, wafer shortages will be unlikely to occur.

Dr. Lin stated that there are many reasons why automotive electronics are important. First of all, safety. More than 1 million people die in traffic accidents annually. Because most car accidents are due to human errors, if cars were equipped with ADAS or capable of autonomous driving; reducing the number of fatalities due to traffic accidents should be possible. One of the points included in the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) is to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2030 and to achieve this goal, the usage of ADAS is indispensable.

Secondly, carbon emission reduction which is often at the forefront of enterprise ESG goals and can be achieved by utilizing more electric vehicles. The third is 5G communication. In the automotive field, 5G communication is more important than 4G and 6G is expected to be released by 2028. This means the future of mobility must move to be safer, greener, and smarter.

Dr. Lin further shared that according to the SAE International (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers); automotive automation can be classified into Levels 1 to 5. Levels 1 and 2 generally use about 10 to 12 sensors; while levels 4 and 5, which are yet to be realized, will need approximately 40 sensors. In essence, the higher the level of automation is implemented, the more sensors will be required; and as a result, the higher the computing power needed from the chips.

This ongoing trend will further increase the demand for automotive chips. In addition, as carbon emission has become a global trend; virtually every country also promotes the usage of electric vehicles. However, the key factor for whether electric vehicles can be popularized will be the cost of batteries.

Different automotive chips will require different processes; including the N5A process for automotive, the N6RF process, and the 65/40 nm process required for automotive sensors. TSMC is ready for them. Due to the traditional memory architecture, it cannot be used after 16 nm. However, new embedded memories such as MRAM have been developed and mass-produced at 22 nm. MRAM embedded memory products with 16 nm processes are expected to be designed and finalized next year to meet the needs of embedded memory below 16nm in the future.

Higher Automotive Chips Can Bring Disruptive Innovative Applications in the Automotive Industry

The Managing Director of ST Taiwan and Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific Region of STMicroelectronics, Mr. Giuseppe Izzo stated that the revenue of STMicroelectronics in the automotive industry, automotive electrification, ADAS systems, 32-bit automotive MCUs, and other fields have grown significantly in 2020 and 2021. The vehicle electrification field in particular has grown by 110%. Between 2002 and 2017, the number of chips per car has increased by about 1.5 times, but it will double between 2017 to 2021 and is expected to continue to grow in the next few years, regardless of the number of cars sold.

Since STMicroelectronics has a fairly comprehensive product line for automotive electronics, it has also found that many automotive chip applications have grown rapidly. Traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles use approximately USD 550 worth of chips, but for electric vehicles, the value of chips used is closer to USD 1300. For Level 2 autonomous cars, the value of chips is about USD 350, but at Level 2++ or even Level 4, the value will increase by 2.5 times. Future applications such as vehicle electrification, software defined vehicles (SDV), autonomous cars, and more will also experience double digit growth between 2021 to 2025.

Mr. Izzo further stated that the continuous growth of automotive electronics is irreversible. The ongoing trends in electrification, power management, and connectivity will also change the structure of the ecosystem to be more “star-shaped” where every player in the ecosystem cooperate together with the automakers at the center.

Automotive Semiconductor per Vehicle to Exceed USD 1000 by 2026

Dr. Chris Hung, Vice President & Director General of MIC, III said that the trend of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric) has accelerated an evolution in the automotive industry, especially in automotive electronics. This change will happen in the component side such as in the powertrain structure, the components, or the number of components; which will also increase the demand for automotive semiconductors.

The CAGR of the global automotive electronics market is expected to reach approximately 12% between 2020 and 2025. It is also predicted that by 2030, the contribution to the automotive electronics market will reverse the current status to be ICE vehicles contributing 30% and electric vehicles contributing 70%.

Dr. Hung also stated that the value of automotive semiconductors per car is expected to increase to USD 1,000 by 2026; mainly due to the higher demand for ADAS in regular ICE vehicles as well as cockpit upgrades which will increase the demand for semiconductors in ICE vehicles. The trend is further amplified with the growing demand for electric vehicles as EVs generally require more semiconductors, especially power semiconductor.

Dr. Hung believes that Taiwanese companies can extend the capabilities and flexibility of the ICT industry and further develop components and electronic hardware for EVs. As Taiwan lacks the support of a comprehensive automotive supply chain, Taiwan can leverage its strength in IC design and semiconductors; especially as automotive companies realize the importance of semiconductors in their industry.

Continuous Automotive Electronic Architecture Transformation and Software Defined Vehicles will Shorten Smart Vehicle Application Development Time

Mr. Simon Teng, Senior Director of Automotive, Arm stated that in response to the CASE trend, the automotive electronics architecture has gradually shifted from the traditional decentralized to centralized. This transition has improved the resource management and computing efficiency. For autonomous cars; the software required to achieve the connected capabilities, autonomous driving, service platform, etc. is probably more complex than the software running Boeing 747 or other airplanes. The application and development of software defined vehicles (SDV) has also become a significant trend for automotive electronics.

Mr. Teng shared that in terms of the evolution of automotive architecture, the traditional decentralized architecture employs a distributed ECU system which has high stability, but poor computing efficiency. Due to the evolution of the semiconductor technology and the development of automotive software, many new cars have switched to employing domain architecture in recent years to improve the operational efficiency of automotive electronic modules as well as reducing the number of ECUs and connectors.

Due to the rapid increase in demand for ADAS and the need for cross-domain processing for many real-time controls, combined with the continuous improvement of computing efficiency of MCUs; car manufacturers have begun to introduce Centralized Compute and Zonal Architecture. Through high-speed computing processors in the car to communicate with the car components; it can process various ADAS function requirements in real time as well as connect with cloud services to provide automotive networking applications and OTA update services, further reducing the number of required ECUs. However, due to the complex vehicle architecture, it is not easy to make this shift immediately. As a result, many traditional car makers have introduced centralized + zonal architecture; gradually improving the efficiency of automotive electronic computing.

Future users will have higher demand for smart and electric vehicles and the complexity of vehicle development will also grow. Therefore, Arm introduced the SOAFEE (Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge) project with the goal of implementing a software architecture that includes all vehicle requirements into a source code so all car makers will be able to share it. This open-source architecture can include functional safety and real-time requirements of vehicles and will be able to support the automotive industry in their transition from embedded software to cloud native architecture platform.

Smart Cockpit Improves Driving Safety

Mr. Jason Lin, General Manager of Sunplus Technology said that according to statistics, the average American drives approximately 8 hours and 22 minutes per week. With such a high amount of time regularly spent in a car, a smart cockpit is important not only for driver comfort, but also for safety. The IHS Markit report also pointed out that the global smart cockpit market was valued at USD 40 billion in 2021, will reach USD 44 billion by 2022, and continue to grow to USD 68.1 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 6% in that period.

Mr. Lin further pointed out that although autonomous driving will grow in popularity, in the next 15 to 20 years, level 0 to level 3 autonomous vehicles will continue to dominate the vehicle market. However, the need for smart cockpits continue to grow as a research by the NHTSA has shown that 80% of traffic accidents and 16% of highway fatalities happened due to distracted driving. To address this issue, Sunplus Technology has developed a Driver Monitoring System (DMS) which can be integrated with the car’s cockpit dashboard to detect driving distraction; including short term distractions, long term distractions, as well as phone usage. Furthermore, it can also feature an active warning system to remind the driver to be alert and focus on their driving.

The smart cockpit today has already included many features and will continue to be improved. One of the main functions is voice control which is shown to be able to perform the same tasks as regular controls at a shorter time. Smart cockpits today can also be integrated with the driver’s phones through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The second main function is navigation through either the car’s built-in functions or the user’s phone. Other functions include infotainment systems which can actively adjust the car’s audio systems through the in-car cameras to provide passengers the best possible audio quality; as well as 3D immersive sound effects for a better immersive entertainment. Sunplus Technology has also developed Sound Bubble that can create a quiet zone for every passenger or independent listening zones for each passenger so they don’t disturb each other.

The Global Smart Vehicle Executive Summit is now available in the COMPUTEX V YouTube channel with Chinese audio and English subtitles for everyone who could not join us onsite. The video will be available from October 19, 2022 at 14.00 (GMT+8). Please click on the video link to watch the full forum.