Semiconductor Innovation: Catering to Automotive Industry

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Semiconductor Innovation: Meeting Demands of Automotive Industry

As the demand for automotive semiconductors continues to increase, automotive companies are facing the challenge of gaining direct access to chip prototyping and volume production.

Fortunately, Imec is leading the charge in accelerating the automotive EEA transformation with innovative silicon, packaging, and software solutions.


Europe is responsible for generating 75 percent of vehicle value, with Euro 30 billion invested in R&D each year. In fact, 57.5 percent of R&D investments are focused on e-mobility.

However, the global production shortfall of nearly 10 million vehicles in 2021 has highlighted the urgent need for an EU Chips Act. According to VDA estimates, about 20 percent fewer vehicles will be produced in the EU until 2026 due to the current chip shortage.

The complexity of automotive chips is also increasing.

Gartner predicts that the average semiconductor content per vehicle will exceed $1,000 by 2026, which is double the amount in 2020.

For instance, battery electric vehicles require 3,000-7,000 chips, which highlights the importance of streamlining the supply chain. In fact, the EU currently has 37 percent of demand for automotive semiconductors, and with electrification and digitization on the rise, the demand is expected to increase further.

Electrification is expected to grow at a 16 percent CAGR, and ADAS/automation is predicted to grow at a 17 percent CAGR. By 2027, Europe may reach a tipping point in BEVs, leading to a three-fold increase in semiconductor content.

Although the supply chain outlook may remain under stress, there is likely to be collaboration among semiconductor developers, tier 1s, and OEMs. This marks a shift from development done in isolation.

Manufacturers and suppliers will aim for transparency and simplicity in the emerging automotive supply chain. For instance, an OEM with 120 models may rely on 148 different MCUs, and use about 151 million units.

However, 75 percent of variants are used for 20 percent of the volumes, and high variety of MCUs were bought in small quantities. Moving from directed buy to direct buy can potentially have a sourcing volume and capacity reservation value of over Euro 1 billion.

As advanced nodes and tape-outs can be expensive, chiplets can enable more re-use of produced silicon for different projects. In addition, chiplets offer better IP protection and cyber security. They also allow for better design for redundancy as smaller dies have lower defect probability.

Imec is paving the way for automotive companies to gain direct access to chip prototyping and volume production through innovative solutions.

As the demand for automotive semiconductors continues to grow, collaboration among stakeholders in the emerging automotive supply chain is critical to streamlining the process and ensuring transparency and simplicity.

The use of chiplets can also offer several benefits, such as re-use of produced silicon, better IP protection and cyber security, and improved design for redundancy.


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