NXP / Freescale: A chipmaker takes shape

May 06, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
After the upcoming merger of NXP and Freescale, how will the resulting company look like? At the recent CDN Live Cadence user meeting, NXP Vice President Lars Reger delivered a keynote speech that described NXP’s vision of the Connected Car. En passant the speech provided insights in the allocation of topics and responsibilities in the company after the merger.

Reger subdivided the functionality of future automotive electronics landscapes into three major segments: Sense, Think, Act (see image), with the “Sense” segment covering functionalities such as radar, V2X, Smart Car access or the radio receiver in the infotainment system – not just the good old AM/FM receiver but also Software Defined Radio (SDR) approaches for future digital communication channels. The “Think” segment comprises more or less all forms of signal processing, while the “Act” zone includes displays, brake and steer controls and audio amplifiers. Coincidence or not, this is description coincides pretty well with NXPs profile as a chip vendor.

Business opportunities in the Connected Car, according to NXP. The white fields are claimed by NXP, grey blocks will be covered by Freescale. For full resolution click here .

Based on its product and expertise portfolio, Freescale will bework fields like camera and lidar signal processing as well as the demanding area of sensor fusion. Entertainment apps, display drivers as well controls for vehicle functions like steering and braking will also fall into Freescale’s responsibility. “This is why we have to take over Freescale,” said Reger. It remains unclear how the responsibility for data bus devices will be distributed across the merged company. After all, Freescale was one of the leading drivers to integrate Ethernet into vehicles, a field that also NXP is claiming. The Dutch chipmaker already has a range of devices for CAN and FlexRay systems and has great plans for Ethernet. “Yes, it is possible to get 100 Mbps over unshielded twisted pair wire”, Reger said, adding that the company is developing its own PHY chip, which will excel through higher integration, enabling users to build Ethernet-connected control units with fewer parts. “Ethernet will be a big trend in the next four to five years”, he said, adding the enigmatic remark “especially for the new carmakers in California”. Reger left open which Californian carmakers he was talking