Self-Driving SoCs


[News] Intel to Launch New Automotive AI Chips, Competing with NVIDIA and Qualcomm

On January 9th, Intel unveiled its latest automotive AI chips, entering into direct competition with rivals NVIDIA and Qualcomm in the automotive chip market. In a bid to strengthen its position, Intel also announced the acquisition of automotive chip company Silicon Mobility.

Reportedly, Intel stated that Silicon Mobility, a French startup, specializes in designing System-on-a-Chip (SoC) technology for controlling electric vehicle motors and in-car charging systems, along with software. The acquisition amount was not disclosed by Intel.

As per Reuter citing from Intel’s automotive business chief Jack Weast, he has indicated that, intel’s new automotive system on a chip products will adapt the company’s recently launched AI PC technology for the durability and performance requirements of vehicles.

Weast further clarified, “Intel will not require automakers to use advanced driving chips designed by its former Mobileye unit, he said. Instead, automakers can have Intel incorporate their own chiplets to enable specific functions into the Intel system at a lower cost.”

Intel’s chips designed for infotainment systems are already integrated into 50 million vehicles. As the automotive chip market continues to expand, the demands on chips are increasing, covering technologies such as autonomous driving, upgradable in-car system software, and complex dashboard displays amid strong competition from NVIDIA and Qualcomm.

Weast has addressed ahead of the CES technology show in Las Vegas that Chinese automaker Zeekr will be the first automaker to use Intel’s AI system on a chip to create “an enhanced living room experience” in vehicles, including AI voice assistants and video conferencing. Zeekr, an electric vehicle brand under the Geely Holding Group, is a customer of both Intel and NVIDIA.

Intel will try to separate itself from rivals by offering chips that automakers can use across their product lines, from lowest-priced to premium vehicles, Weast said.

According to Reuter, Weast addressed reporters in a conference call before the announcement at the CES technology show in Las Vegas, stating, “Intel has done a pretty terrible job communicating our success in automotive, We are going to change that.”

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(Photo credit: Intel)

Please note that this article cites information from Reuter and Commercial Times


[Report Highlights] Self-Driving SoCs Are Becoming A Critical Gateway for IC Design Firms

In the era of increasing electric vehicle penetration and automotive electrification, the future of cars resembles smartphones on wheels, demanding substantial computing power for advanced autonomous systems. As a result, future vehicles equipped with high-end self-driving systems are akin to mobile data centers. With the growth rate of the consumer electronics market slowing down, Self-Driving System-on-Chip (SoC) has become a crucial avenue for IC design firms to expand.

TrendForce Insights:

  • Sluggish Growth in Consumer Electronics Market Spurs IC Design Firms to Focus on Self-Driving SoCs

With the deceleration in growth of mainstream consumer electronics products like smartphones and PCs, IC design firms are venturing into the automotive sector, with Self-Driving SoCs emerging as a key area of expansion. Key competitors in this space include NVIDIA, Mobileye, Qualcomm, Ambarella, and Horizon Robotics. Qualcomm, with solutions spanning smart cockpits, ADAS, and V2X, showcases its advantage in entering the automotive sector after years of success in the smartphone market. To avoid sustained dominance by international giants in the Chinese smart cockpit market, Chinese companies such as Siengine Technology, Navinfo, Autochips, Semidrive, Huawei, Rockchip, and Unisoc are actively entering this market.

  • NVIDIA and Qualcomm Offer Broad Computing Capabilities, While Mobileye, Ambarella, and Horizon Robotics Bring Unique Strengths

NVIDIA and Qualcomm offer Self-Driving SoCs with broad computing capabilities. Initially targeting Level 4 and above autonomous driving, NVIDIA has adjusted its focus to Level 3 and below due to regulatory delays. Its high-computing SoCs cater to the computing needs of both smart cockpits and self-driving systems, achieving a “cockpit-and-drive integrated” approach. Qualcomm’s products cover computing requirements from Level 1 to 4. Intel’s Mobileye emphasizes low power consumption and integrates image sensing hardware and software. Both Ambarella and Mobileye possess core computer vision technologies, while Horizon Robotics provides highly open platforms to developers, offering software development tools (AIDI) and cloud-based AI training platforms. Horizon Robotics is also poised to benefit from China’s domestic production plans.

  • NVIDIA’s Collaboration with MediaTek (Dimensity) is Crucial for Hardware-Software Integration

In May 2023, NVIDIA announced a partnership with MediaTek (Dimensity) to target the automotive market, with a focus on smart cockpits. NVIDIA concentrates on the main computing chips for in-vehicle computers and essential software, while MediaTek specializes in peripheral audiovisual entertainment and V2X communication systems. In Dimensity Auto, NVIDIA’s GPU and software are integrated, enabling the development of smart cockpit solutions. However, the collaborative car SoC development between MediaTek and NVIDIA is expected to launch by the end of 2025, with mass production slated for 2026-2027, necessitating a wait-and-see approach for the results of this collaboration.

Currently, high-end vehicles have software lines of code (SLOC) exceeding 100 million lines, more than double that of a PC. Vehicles with Level 5 self-driving systems in the future could potentially have over 1 billion lines of code. In the era of Software Defined Vehicles (SDV), hardware-software integration will be the key to competitiveness for manufacturers. NVIDIA, dominating the AI market with its CUDA platform, is well aware of this fact. Consequently, the results of NVIDIA’s collaboration with MediaTek (Dimensity) are highly anticipated.

(Photo credit: MediaTek)

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