Emerging Technologies


[News] Toyota and Other Automakers Reportedly Join Forces for the Development of Advanced Automotive Chips

In a bid to compete with rivals like Tesla, who conduct in-house research and development of advanced chips for automotive applications, Japanese automakers have reportedly established a new organization to collaboratively research and develop advanced automotive chips, integrating their technologies and designs.

According to a report by Nikkei, automakers including Toyota have established a new organization called the “Automotive SoC Research Association” (temporarily referred as ASRA), joining forces to develop advanced chips for applications like autonomous driving.

Established in December in Nagoya, ASRA is set to commence research on SoC products with a process of 10nm or more advanced nodes starting in 2024. In addition to Toyota, other automakers such as Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, and Japanese enterprises including Renesas Electronics and Socionext have also joined the initiative.

According to the report, the trend of automakers intensifying in-house development of automotive chips is growing. The report further indicates that semiconductor giants in the United States, such as NVIDIA and Qualcomm, are also developing high-performance SoCs for automotive use.

Leading electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has opted for in-house development due to dissatisfaction with limited choices, and their self-developed SoCs are already actively deployed in their vehicles.

On the other hand, Chinese automaker NIO, for example, possesses semiconductor research and development teams in both China and the United States. They have successfully developed semiconductor products used for controlling Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)

Please note that this article cites information from Nikkei


[News] TSMC’s N3P to Enter Mass Production in the Second Half of Next Year, Rumored Inclusion of Tesla in Customer List

TSMC, the world’s leading foundry in the 3nm technology, is reportedly experiencing a surge in the number of New Tape-Outs (NTOs) for the 3nm family in 2024, with Clients such as MediaTek, AMD, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Intel.

Among the 3nm family, the N3P process, set for mass production in the second half of 2024, is also making significant progress. Rumors suggest that Tesla has been added to the list of customers, with plans to utilize the N3P for the production of next-generation Full Self-Driving (FSD) chips after its launch.

Currently, Tesla has placed orders with TSMC for numerous chips related to electric vehicles. For instance, the supercomputer chip “D1” is utilizing TSMC’s 7nm technology along with advanced packaging processes.

Reportedly, according to industry sources, Tesla’s older FSD chips were initially produced using Samsung’s 14nm process, later upgraded to Samsung’s 7nm process. Subsequently, considering design upgrades, production quality, and scale, Tesla has shifted its HW 4.0 autonomous driving chip production to TSMC, utilizing the 5nm technology family.

The latest information per the report indicates that Tesla has recently initiated a NTO process with TSMC, planning to utilize the N3P for the production of the fifth generation of self-driving vehicle chips. Market expectations are high, with the influx of relevant orders suggesting that Tesla has the potential to become one of TSMC’s major clients.

According to TSMC’s previously disclosed process roadmap, the N3P process is an advanced version within the 3nm family, scheduled for production in 2024. Compared to the N3E, the N3P boasts a 5% improvement in performance, a 5% to 10% reduction in power consumption, and a 1.04 times increase in chip density.

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(Photo credit: TSMC)

Please note that this article cites information from MoneyDJ


[News] Apple Reportedly Accelerates Production of MR Headset “Vision Pro” for Potential February Launch

At the WWDC 23 in June this year, Apple introduced its first headset, Vision Pro. The device is set to be available for purchase as early as next year, with a price tag of USD 3,499.

According to the report citing sources by Mark Gurman, Apple has accelerated the production of the MR headset “Vision Pro” in China in recent weeks, suggesting preparations for a potential launch in February next year.

Reportedly, insiders have revealed that in the past few weeks, Apple has been in full production mode for the Vision Pro in China. The goal is to have the customer-facing business department ready by the end of January, allowing the product to debut in Apple’s retail stores in February.

Additionally, Apple has been rumored to have sent an email to software developers lately, encouraging them to use the latest tools to test their applications and submit software for feedback, indicating preparations for the Vision Pro’s imminent release.

The report highlights that the Vision Pro is Apple’s most intricate product to date. Due to its customized components, it requires assembly and packaging at the sales point, necessitating a sales strategy and equipment different from those used in the past.

As per a report by the Financial Times in May of this year, Apple initially aimed for annual sales of 3 million units for the Vision Pro, but later reduced the target to 1 million units. In July, there were further reports that due to the complex design of the Vision Pro and issues with the display yield, Apple lowered the target shipment volume from 1 million units to 400,000 units.

Considering factors such as pricing and the absence of certain essential features, TrendForce has previously anticipated a modest shipment volume of approximately 200,000 to 400,000 units for Apple Vision Pro in 2024.

The market’s response will heavily depend on the subsequent introduction of consumer-oriented Apple Vision models and the ability of Apple to offer enticing everyday functionalities that will drive the rapid growth of the AR market as a whole.

TrendForce also notes that the Apple Vision Pro boasts cutting-edge hardware specifications and innovative design. However, a substantial price tag of USD 3,499 and the requirement for an external power source to operate for a mere two hours pose challenges to consumer adoption.

Currently, the Apple Vision Pro lacks sufficient applications for mainstream users, making it more attractive to developers and enterprise customers who can capitalize on its innovative features to create diverse applications. Consequently, the higher price point of the product is justified.

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(Photo credit: Apple)

Please note that this article cites information from Bloomberg and Financial Times


[News] Lei Jun States Xiaomi’s First Car Involves 3,400 Engineers with R&D Investment Exceeding RMB 10 Billion

In the episode of CCTV’s “Face to Face” program aired on the evening of December 17, Xiaomi Group’s founder and chairman, Lei Jun, was interviewed and discussed Xiaomi’s efforts in the high-end and automotive sectors.

Lei Jun told reporters that he believes Xiaomi has many natural advantages in entering the automotive industry. He emphasized that the essence of smart electric vehicles today lies in the integration of the automotive and consumer electronics industries, constituting a significant convergence. Therefore, entering the automotive sector poses challenges for Xiaomi, but overall, the difficulty is manageable.

Lei Jun mentioned that three years ago, he thought making cars was a challenging endeavor. After conducting user research, they established the principle of adhering to conventions while introducing surprises: fully respecting the norms of the automotive industry, using mature industry technologies to ensure the quality of the first car, and innovating within this overarching framework.

Lei Jun stated, “For our first car, we’ve invested more than 3,400 engineers, and the entire research and development expenditure has exceeded RMB 10 billion. We’ve used more than ten times the investment. With this level of confidence, I approached it with a ‘must-win’ attitude.”

When discussing expectations for the first car, Lei Jun mentioned that there is definitely an expectation, but he acknowledges the complexity of the automotive industry. He expressed concerns, particularly fearing that the car might not gain immediate popularity, and people may not buy it initially.

However, he is even more worried that if everyone rushes to buy, there might be a wait of one or two years, which would undoubtedly lead to severe criticism.

Previous reports indicated that Xiaomi’s inaugural car aims to deliver 300 units in December, with preparations currently in progress for exhibition vehicles.

Earlier on December 12, information about Xiaomi’s car model SU7 battery appeared in the latest catalog of new energy vehicle models exempt from vehicle purchase tax released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The information shows that Xiaomi’s car model SU7 has two battery versions with capacities of 101kWh and 73.6kWh, respectively. Depending on the specific model, the corresponding CLTC (China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle) range for the 101kWh version is 800km and 750km, while for the 73.6kWh version, it is 668km and 628km.

(Photo credit: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology)

Please note that this article cites information from IJIWEI, Sanyan Interactive Technology and Futunn.


[News] Matching Apple’s Vision Pro Momentum? Rumors Suggest Samsung Expediting XR Device Launch in Early 2024

With Apple’s Extended Reality (XR) headgear, Vision Pro, set to hit the market early next year, Samsung is reportedly making diligent preparations to unveil its own XR product.

According to a report from Pulse News, the English version of the Korean Daily Economic News website, data released by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on the 14th indicates that Samsung Display has recently filed for a new trademark, “Flex Magic,” sparking rumors that it is intended for Samsung’s next-generation XR headset.

Samsung Display mentioned in its application documents that the universal applications of its display panel include 3D Spectacles, Virtual Reality Headsets, Virtual Reality Goggles, and smart glasses. The company had also applied for the same trademark with the European Union Patent Office in November.

While filing a patent does not guarantee the release of a product, the South Korean industry believes that Samsung Electronics has made significant progress towards unveiling a new product.

Reportedly, industry insiders in South Korea reveal that Samsung has set a goal to launch an XR device early next year, potentially entering a new frontier in competition with Apple. Initially named “Galaxy Glass,” this device was originally scheduled for a later release next year.

In February of this year, Samsung Electronics officially announced its entry into the XR market in collaboration with Google and Qualcomm. It is expected that Samsung Electronics will handle hardware development, Google will manage software, and Qualcomm will provide chipsets specifically for the XR platform.

Reportedly, industry insiders in South Korea anticipate that its primary competitor, Apple’s Vision Pro, is expected to launch in the United States in March of next year, followed by expansion into other countries, with a starting price of USD 3,499.

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Please note that this article cites information from Pulse News.

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