“Solving tomorrow’s challenges will be easier with Qualcomm”

June 28, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the recent NXP FTF Connects Silicon Valley congress, eeNews Europe met up with Kurt Sievers, General Manager of NXPs Automotive business unit, and Lars Reger, CTO of the same business unit. NXP, being the market leader in automotive semiconductors, certainly has a good perception of the things to come in this market. And, by the way, what are NXPs perspectives for the upcoming merger with Qualcomm?

According to a statement in Siever’s keynote speech at the FTF Connects meeting, autonomous driving, full connectivity and electrification are expected to triple the value of the semiconductor content in cars. This added value is driven by functions like battery management and smart energy. But sensors, sensor data processing, sensor fusion and the downstream data handling are also a large opportunity for NXP.

Currently, the car industry is developing the set of capabilities required for automated valet parking and highway driving, but as soon as urban driving enters the game, the technological challenge will grow by an order of magnitude. Given the computing platforms thrown at the autonomous driving market, the question arises if NXP can offer sufficient computing power with its BlueBox platform.

NXP CTO Lars Reger:
"More focus on sensing than on processing"

For Lars Reger, this is not so much the question. The quality of the sensors is more important than the raw computing power, he believes. Nevertheless, for applications currently under development across the automotive industry like automated valet parking, BlueBox offers enough computing horsepower. As the industry will move up the autonomous driving ladder, NXP will also roll out more powerful platforms, Reger said. Furthermore, he expects new technological contributions to automated driving platforms from NXPs future parent company Qualcomm. “High-performance systems will be a main asset Qualcomm will contribute to the marriage. This applies not only to the silicon level, but also to the software tools,” Reger said.

Kurt Sievers added that NXPs current platform is “completely sufficient for all of today’s ADAS systems and for the ADAS systems that will reach series production within the next five years or so.” Sievers emphasized that the BlueBox already has automotive-grade silicon, which is not always the case when carmakers and technology companies demonstrate highly automated driving – with a trunk full of non-automotive-grade prototype computers.