Infineon intends to regain the lead in automotive chips: Page 4 of 5

December 13, 2017 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Infineon intends to regain the lead in automotive chips
Although NXP has overtaken Infineon in the automotive chip market, Infineon sees itself on the fast track and is determined to return to the top, even though its competitor NXP might merge with Qualcomm. Infineon’s Automotive Division President Peter Schiefer explains how.

Schiefer: In general, the architecture of our AURIX TC3xx microcontrollers already includes a radar sub-system  with up to two signal processing units. The radar algorithms are calculated with a clock frequency of 300 MHz, for example in the area of radar signal processing. RF radar chips can be directly connected via a high-speed digital radar interface. We will not build processors like those offered by companies such as Nvidia; this is not our ambition. However, we will continue to increase performance and computing power in the next generation of AURIX, also with hardware accelerators for algorithms that support, for example, the data processing of AI and neural networks.

eeNews Europe: Electric driving should be Infineon's home turf. But it is not only about high-voltage technology in the electric power train, 48V technology is certainly also part of electromobility. What about Infineon? And how does is Infineon's roadmap for the future technologies silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) look like?

Schiefer: We see ourselves as a technology leader for hybridization.  We have the industry's broadest range of modules and a variety of components for mild hybrid vehicles with 48V technology as well as for classic hybrid, PHEV or pure electric vehicles: sensors, microcontrollers, power supply and bus ICs, drivers, IGBTs, MOSFETs - including those based on SiC. For 48V, we use silicon-based MOSFET technology today. There GaN could play a role in the future. Today, however, GaN technology is not yet as robust and reliable in relation to the load profiles occurring in cars to be used here. With regard to hybrid, PHEV and battery electric cars, we have a very broad portfolio of IGBT products. Of the ten best-selling cars with PHEV and EV drives in 2016, eight are using power semiconductors from Infineon. Especially for vehicles with a higher battery power range, i. e. with batteries larger than 40 kWh, SiC components have great potential to make electric driving more affordable in the future. Chargers and inverters become more compact, lighter and more efficient with SiC: the range of the vehicle increases. Raising the battery voltage to 800 V and the respective high-speed charging systems makes SiC more attractive.

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