The introduction of the deep Learning (DL) approach to machine learning has led to incredible developments in artificial intelligence (AI) over the past few years, attracting interests from cloud computing and semiconductor chip businesses. According to TrendForce’s latest research on AI, the three forces that drive advances in machine learning are software, hardware and data. AI systems based on DL requires vast amounts of data to train their abilities such as identifying objects and processing requests. Therefore quantity and quality of data directly affects AI systems’ accuracy. As cloud and software platform companies compete to bring AI solutions for different applications, ownership and access to data will become crucial to their strategies.
Intel on March 13 announced that the company will purchase Mobileye, a global provider of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). This deal is worth US$15.3 billion and is another indication that major semiconductor manufacturers are aggressively jockeying for a favorable position in the fast growing automotive electronics market. TrendForce states that after the merger, Intel will be able to combine its hardware products such as high-performance computing chips and IoT solutions with Mobileye’s image processing algorithms for autonomous driving systems. The deal gives Intel’s the potential to develop an autonomous driving solution that incorporates cloud computing. Furthermore, the deal strengthens Intel’s collaboration with BMW to bring self-driving cars to the market in 2021, when first wave of sales for such vehicles is anticipated to take place in major auto markets worldwide.
Development of AI systems and their applications will continue to revolve around voice and image recognition technologies in 2017. According to market research firm TrendForce, the global market value of voice recognition solutions is projected to grow from US$2.61 billion in 2016 to US$15.98 billion in 2021, with the CAGR in the forecast period at 43.64%. The main source of growth momentum will come from the widespread adoption of voice-based virtual assistants in various devices.
Global volume demand for lithium batteries that power xEVs (plug-in vehicles) is estimated to reach 1.7 billion units in 2016 and grow by 17% annually to 2 billion units in 2017, according to EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce. EnergyTrend reports that the China has taken measures to curb excessive subsidy payments to domestic xEV manufacturers during the second half of 2016. Thus, the delay in subsidy payments and investigation on potential cases of subsidy fraud have impacted market demand for xEV batteries in the short term. With the investigation winding down, China’s xEV market is expected to make full recovery and again become the key demand driver for xEV batteries in 2017.
Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (abbreviation QCT, here referred to as Qualcomm) tops the projected ranking of the top 10 fabless IC design houses worldwide based on annual revenues for 2016, according to TrendForce’s analysis. Broadcom Limited is expected to be runner-up, while MediaTek will take third place. The ranking positions of these three companies are fairly secure in the short term because collectively they would represent about 65% of the total revenue generated all the design houses that are listed on this year’s top 10 ranking.