Renesas shifts automotive centre of gravity to Europe

November 13, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Concentrating its ADAS R&D activities in one organisation with worldwide responsibilities, chipmaker Renesas has established its Global ADAS Solution Group in Düsseldorf, Germany. At electronica, Jean-Francois Chouteau, General Manager of this group, explained the chipmaker's intentions and strategies with respect to ADAS markets.

Achieving some 60 % of its global sales with customers in the automotive industry, automotive OEMs as well as tier ones and tier twos all together are the most important pillar in Renesas' business. Currently, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are not only in high demand from these customers, ADAS also is the place where Renesas' experience in safety-critical systems meets with its expertise in the data-intensive infotainment world, Chouteau explains. "ADAS is in the middle of both", Chouteau said. The new ADAS competence Centre in Düsseldorf, launched as recent as October, represents a strategic activity for Renesas and its new major shareholders like Toyota.

The new Renesas management chose to establish the new ADAS competence centre not in Japan but instead in Europe. "The management thought it might be a good idea to shift this activity to Overseas", explained Chouteau. This move is part of a comprehensive globalisation strategy. In this context, Renesas established the responsibility for industrial markets in the United States while the automotive part was handed over to Europe.

The Düsseldorf ADAS team is a global team, Chouteau explained, and the leading positions are no longer reserved to Japanese managers. With a headcount of 90, the group comprises eight nationalities - not a coincidence but an element of Renesas' strategy to establish a global mindset and take into account global requirements and technology cultures.

A pivotal technology partner is microprocessor IP company ARM. Being an ARM licensee for many years, ARM's architecture is deeply ingrained into Renesas products and the basis for microprocessors with a performance up to 25.000 MIPS, Chouteau explained.

The particularities of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are their data intensity and real-time requirements. "ADAS requires high computing power - but there is a second dimension in that it also to take into account functional safety", said Chouteau. "The challenge in designing ADAS is to achieve the performance in an acceptable power budget and