Semiconductor manufacturer Renesas said it has introduced an automotive controller aimed for advanced self driving car systems.
The microcontroller incorporates sensor fusion gateway and advanced chassis system applications and includes safety tech, security tech and vehicle control network technology.
The safety features are fault diagnostic functions with error checking and data correcting features. The chip can detect faults in the different fault detection systems.
The security features are intended to prevent people from hacking into cars and includes data encryption, random number generation as well as providing information on road conditions.
The sensor facility can support up to 8MB of flash memory, up to 960K of RAM and can steam along at 240MHz.
Communications support includes ethernet, CAN, LIN, CSI and FlexRay functions and can pick up complex control of chassis systems using a vehicle network or a gateway.
The family of chips has the not so catchy name of RH850/P1x-C Series with samples being available in February 2015 with an emulator device costing $1,000 a unit. Mass production will start in September 2016 and volume will reach two million units a month by January 2020, Renesas claims.
Japanese chipmaker Renesas is still in trouble and might have to make even deeper cuts to its organisation.
The outfit has just finished a restructuring and is focusing its business on the automotive and industrial sectors and has pulled it back into the black after years of losses.
However Renesas Chairman and CEO Hisao Sakuta said that the company still had too many people and he expects people to quit.
Renesas was hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake which shut a key chip plant for months and sent customers looking for other suppliers. The company was rescued by government-backed funds but had to sell an integrated chip factory in northern Japan to Sony. Renesas SP Drivers will be sold to Synaptics for $475 million.
Renesas has so far cut more than 10,000 jobs and racked up $3.3 billion in cumulative net losses over the last four financial years.
It had its fifth round of a voluntary early retirement programme in September which was taken up by 361 employees. So far the group work force had shrunk to 27,200 as of end-March from 42,800 two years earlier.
Last week, Renesas unveiled a chip using new technologies that it aims to eventually apply to autonomous driving, which merges together feeds from cameras fitted to the car to create a 3D image and can detect pedestrians within several meters of a vehicle.
Test shipments of the chip begin this month, while full production and supply will likely begin in 2016, Renesas said. It is also developing technologies that will enable valet parking of a car by itself, without a driver inside.
The worldwide semiconductor market is expected to grow 3 percent this year. The market has been seeing sequential growth for several consecutive quarters and most vendors believe they will end the year on a positive note, just barely.
“It has been a tough few years for the semiconductor industry. While we haven’t seen a dramatic decline in overall revenues since the 2008/2009 period the market has been pretty stagnant since 2010,” comments Peter Cooney, practice director. “We will see some growth in 2013 as the wider economic environment improves but major market growth is not expected until later in 2014, early 2015.”
The year will be remembered for several major mergers and acquisitions rather than record growth. Fujitsu and Panasonic semicon divisions are merging and Micron has scooped up Elpida. Intel has strengthened its portfolio with the ST-Ericsson GPU unit merger, while Broadcom bought Renesas Mobile’s LTE assets.
ABI Research noted that consolidation in the industry should come as no surprise, as chipmakers are forced to deal with far stiffer competition and lower margins.
“Margins are falling and the competitive environment is tough—especially in the mobile device market—this is driving vendors to re-evaluate their overall strategy and pull out of some of their once major markets. We have seen a number of major vendors exit the mobile device market – Freescale, TI, STMicroelectronics, and Renesas and we expect there are more to come,” said Cooney.