NXP Automotive business largely focusses on three domains - Electrification, ADAS and In-Car Experience
The automotive industry has been going through a great deal of stress on account of the COVID-19-triggered operational disruptions and a majority of OEMs as well as component makers have been severely hit by the pandemic. Amidst this unprecedented pandemic, NXP Semiconductors – a leading global semiconductor supplier is staying positive about the future. Within the automotive space, the company largely focusses on three domains – Electrification (powertrain management & battery management), Autonomy & Advanced Driver Assistance System (radar & safe processing), and In-Car Experience (connected infotainment, user audio & video Interface and secure mobile car access).
The new normal of ‘working from home’ drove enhanced productivity on the part of the company’s employees. “To be honest we were little skeptical about whether the working-from-home mode of operation would work for us factoring in the broadband/Wi-Fi challenges among others. But our engineering teams exuded immense flexibility and showcased enhanced work productivity during this period. Our employees saved a lot of commuting time by working from home and were able to utilise this extra time for both work and family with ease. We did not miss a single customer deliverable during this period, which is an indication that we handled the COVID-19 situation well so far, although it is too early to call it a victory” said Sanjay Gupta, Vice President & India Country Manager, NXP Semiconductors in an exclusive chat with Auto Tech Review.
On the development front, most of NXP Semiconductors chip-making programmes for the automotive industry are of long-drawn nature. “Look, we start very early in the automotive innovation value chain. We are currently conducting R&D on various aspects of automotive, which would be visible to end customers a few years later. For example, our today’s advanced in-Car infotainment developments will be in the end-markets by 2022. Similarly, we are doing R&D on the driverless domain for a car that might hit the end-market by 2025. Our overall semiconductor product development cycle is pretty long due to our zero defect goal and despite the COVID-19 crisis, our engineering teams are focussed and working passionately towards an end goal, which is many years from now. The COVID-19 has surely hit the final automotive showrooms over the short-term, but has not impacted the long term-focussed R&D centers like ours,” noted Gupta.
The NXP Semiconductors senior official further elaborated on how automotive chip-making development is carried out based on a customer idea, and subsequently enabling the system architecture of the chip, followed by various building blocks (Cores & IPs) along with the other miscellaneous peripheral components for the chip. The chip development cycle is between one to two years, while there is equivalent testing time by both NXP and by our customers. Our automotive chips are targeted towards a lot of life-critical applications from basic features such as airbag application, braking application, etc towards advanced features like ADAS and future driverless cars
The company believes that electrification in the automotive domain would pick up in a big way going forward. “I have no doubts that electrification would sweep the auto industry in times to come. If you remember how the cell phone industry penetrated in India starting early 1990’s– initially it was thought that the cell phone was only for premium users, but in no time it percolated among the masses and made India a billion-plus cellphone users in less than 20 years. I think electrification will pick up even before people realise it,” Gupta observed.
On the EV front, NXP Semiconductors is not only working towards making system solutions for electric vehicles in battery and powertrain management, but also in enabling the charging infrastructure.
NXP Semiconductors is also working on Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) chips for cars that will hit the market over the next two years. “ADAS features will act as a bridge between today's cars and future driverless cars. This area will witness a double-digit growth over the next 10 years,” he noted.