Being more than a century old, the automobile market is fairly mature. But technology advances plus changing customer desires have accelerated automotive evolution in recent years. Long focused on transportation and performance, carmakers have shifted to comfort, entertainment (infotainment), and safety. These new areas require a large influx of electronics to control the seating and climate, provide a variety of audio entertainment, and monitor potential safety hazards. A luxury vehicle today may contain more than 100 microprocessors and up to 100 million lines of code — more than a fighter jet or all of Mac OS X. These numbers will only increase as infotainment (IVI) systems and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADASs) become more popular.
The wide use of smartphones (which outnumber cars by 2:1 today) has raised drivers’ expectations for their vehicles’ ease of use. Even some entry-level cars now offer touchscreens with sophisticated user interfaces that control the audio system and navigation system (if present). Greater adoption of rear-view cameras also spurs these in-dash systems. As a result, we forecast shipment of nearly 60 million vehicles with IVI in 2022.
The ADAS market is growing even faster at 28% per year. ADASs rarely appear as standard equipment outside the luxury market today, but they have become an option in many midrange vehicles and even a few entry-level models. Automatic emergency braking (AEB) has the strongest backing, with several leading automakers having committed to making it standard equipment by 2022. Functions such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are also growing in popularity. The combination of these three ADAS functions yields a car that can nearly drive itself in certain situations.
True autonomous vehicles (SAE Level 3) will go on sale as early as 2018. At first, this option will be available only in top luxury cars (e.g., BMW i7) and will perform only under limited conditions, such as daytime highway driving. But we expect this capability to develop quickly, leading to vehicles that are autonomous under all conditions (SAE Level 5) by 2022. By that time, the price premium for Level 3 vehicles will drop to below $5,000, spurring adoption even among some midrange buyers.
Autonomous vehicles require many more semiconductor components, including multiple sensors and high-performance processors. We forecast total revenue for IVI and ADAS processors to reach $1.8 billion in 2022.
Mobileye is by far the leading vendor of ADAS processors, generating chip revenue of $202 million in 2015. Its EyeQ3 is suitable for Level 1 and Level 2 ADAS; it appears in many vehicles as part of a small camera-based system mounted on the rear-view mirror. The next-generation EyeQ4 is already sampling and is due to appear in vehicles in 2018; the company expects it to support autonomous vehicles at Level 3 and above.
Nvidia originally positioned its Tegra processors for tablets and smart-phones but later promoted them for the IVI market. Carmakers such as Audi, BMW, and Tesla adopted Tegra, which generated $320 million in automotive revenue in 2015. More recently, Nvidia has invested heavily in processors for autonomous driving. It currently offers a second-generation Drive PX 2 platform that can deliver a massive 8Tflops but burns a scorching 250W.
Following its recent acquisition of Freescale, NXP is the leading supplier of automotive semiconductors. Its i.MX processors are popular in IVI systems, particularly the Ford Sync and GM OnStar. NXP recently upgraded its line to the i.MX8, providing a state-of-the-art processor for high-end IVI systems with multiple displays and sophisticated graphics. The company has also combined its S32V230 with a powerful processor from its networking division to form a Level 3/4 ADAS solution called BlueBox.
Texas Instruments offers two families of advanced automotive processors. The Jacinto line targets IVI systems, and the similar TDA line adds a custom vision processor suited to surround-view tasks, driver monitoring, and light ADAS functions.
Intel is a newcomer to the automotive market but is seeking to expand beyond its core PC market. It has won a few IVI designs and is eagerly eyeing autonomous driving as well. Qualcomm is another newcomer; it now offers its smartphone processors for IVI systems. Renesas and Toshiba are leading automotive microcontroller vendors that supply some IVI and ADAS chips. Movidius has developed an efficient vision-processing chip that could perform ADAS tasks.
Cadence and Synopsys are large EDA vendors that have adapted their flexible CPU cores to yield powerful vision-processing engines. Ceva, the DSP-IP leader, also created a popular vision core. VeriSilicon instead adapted its GPU architecture for vision processing. Videantis is the only pure-play vision-IP vendor; the small company has already won an automotive design in Japan.
The auto industry is entering an era of rapid change. These changes are disrupting carmakers and their processor suppliers. Traditional suppliers are struggling to deliver the performance that new IVI and ADAS processors require, particularly for autonomous driving. Established high-performance-processor vendors have leapt into the breach, but they lack experience with the specific needs of the automotive market. Car-makers and subsystem suppliers must choose among these imperfect solutions or build their own ASICs using licensed vision IP. Choosing among these old and new vendors is a complex task. This report examines the various options, providing assistance in making these critical design decisions.