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Cracking The Auto IC Market

By Ann Steffora-Mutschler, Semiconductor Engineering

The market for automotive electronics is booming, and it has set off a global scramble among established chipmakers and startups.

What’s becoming clear, though, is that not everyone understands just how different automotive is from the mobile market. Mobile is still the highest-volume market for semiconductors, but the growth has flattened. In contrast, the value of the automotive electronics market is rising quickly, and more chipmakers are attempting to stake a claim.


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“When electronics in a car meant only synchronized door lock/unlock and central control of windows, nobody worried too much about failures since most problems could be overcome by reversion to manual techniques until repairs could be made,” said Tom Anderson, technical marketing consultant at OneSpin Solutions. “Electronic dashboards took reliability requirements up a notch since it was virtually impossible to drive a car with no display. Electronic cruise control had a similar effect on safety requirements, since some failures modes (such as constant acceleration) could be very dangerous. Today, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) for such functions as hazard detection and parallel parking have become quite common. As drivers come to rely on such systems, both reliability and safety must be improved.”


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