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Robot Cars To Drive Semiconductor Demand

Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss said autonomously driven cars will drive the demand for new semiconductors and sensors, during a keynote address at a SEMI Semicon Europa’s Fab Manager’s Forum in Germany.

According to Ploss, an automated car has to be able to recognize its surroundings, control speed and direction, and monitor the driver.

The automated car could also become connected, said Ploss.

“Many believe the autonomous driving car must be a connected car,” he said. “If we connect to the internet, we can gain more information, and even add capabilities to the car.”

For such a car to exist and be safe, according to Ploss, it must be surrounded by sensors including cameras, radar, and laser based radar. The more automated a car is, the more sensors it will require.

“The car will become a unit with a lot of sensors in order to recognize what is going on,” explained Ploss. “These signals have to be computed, so you also have a very high level of computing power in the car to process this data.”

While today’s cars already use semiconductor technology, more automated cars will call for more of that technology. A partially automated car would have about $100 extra in semiconductor content, said Ploss, adding to the $300 already existing, while a fully automated car would have about $550 more.

The semiconductor industry will have to approach this growing technology by continuing to innovate while attempting to reduce costs, so manufacturers of vehicles can access the semiconductors needed. Ploss believes connected manufacturing will assist in this, as data will help companies learn faster and manufacture without money wasting defects.

Many people in various industries from semiconductor to auto believe that autonomous, self-driven cars are the definite vehicle of the future. Because of this, it makes sense for everyone to prepare, through research and development and manufacturing upgrades.

From synthetic quartz wafers and substrates to ArF photoresist and new barrier coatings, there are many new technologies coming onto the scene, as well as improved technologies. The semiconductor industry has what it takes to jump into powering automated vehicles, especially with connected manufacturing and other similar industry developments.

As you see automated and semi-automated vehicles roll out onto the market, take a minute to think about all of the semiconductors required to keep these vehicles safely driving on the road, all on their own.