The era of software-defined automobiles is approaching, and while electronic control units (ECUs) are becoming more streamlined, the computing and integration capabilities of the center console of the vehicle computer will become stronger. The use of various types of peripheral sensor chips will increase dramatically.
The adoption and application of DC microgrid is rising. The grid combines renewable energy, energy storage systems and end devices, enhancing energy conversion efficiency. It will see more application in EV charging.
Hydrogen economy has become the goal that Bosch will pursue in the following years. Andreas Schmidt, managing director of Bosch Taiwan, said Taiwan still needs more time to mature in the sector. The company also wants the government to detail its hydrogen policy to help the industry grow.
TSMC has become a critical supplier for major automakers in the US, Japan and Europe. According to Jerry Wang, chairman of the Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC), Taiwan boasts leading electronics components and ability in system integration in addition to a complete semiconductor ecosystem. The companies' mastery will benefit future car development.
Despite inventory adjustments in the global semiconductor industry, companies are adjusting or expanding their production to include silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors, a kind of compound semiconductor that exhibits high potential in power components and EVs.
TSMC has officially entered the European automotive supply chain with plans to establish a joint venture fab in Dresden, Germany, relieving European automakers' concerns about chip shortages. However, this may addresses only half of their concerns, because only when the self-production of lithium batteries is successfully achieved as planned can the overall transition to vehicle electrification and automation (VEA) in the European automotive sector proceed more smoothly, according to industry observers.
Tong Hsing Electronic Industries, VisEra Technologies, and Xintec, all of whom are in the CMOS image sensor (CIS) backend sector, have expressed caution regarding their market prospects for the second half of 2023, as demand for handsets has yet to pick up and demand for automotive applications has slowed.
Automotive-grade IC prices are unlikely to drop in the short term, as production costs are rising and major European suppliers are increasing investments in expanding their manufacturing capacity, including a joint venture with TSMC for the Taiwanese chip maker to set up its first wafer fab in Europe, according to industry sources.
Millimeter wave radar sensors hold significant potential in future cars. Therefore, the competition between major IDMs has become more intense, even with chip shortages. Supply chain sources said an IDM is offering "fast-tracked" technique services to companies that want to enter the mmWave radar field but have limited knowledge of the technology, aiming to gain more customers.
With the progress in intelligence and stricter vehicle safety regulations, carmakers are facing a surging demand for sensors. In Level 2 self-driving and beyond, the market for automotive mmWave (millimeter-wave) radar is witnessing intense competition. Recently, Chinese contenders have entered the mmWave market, focusing on advancing the 77GHz mmWave radar. However, they are also grappling with price competition, resulting in a reshaping of the market landscape.
Taiwan-based display driver IC company Himax Technologies saw its sales and gross margin decrease in the second quarter of 2023. The company said demand from automotive electronics has been recovering, expected to bring its gross margin back to over 30%. However, its sales will likely keep declining slightly in the third quarter due to the sluggish consumer electronics market.
As the Chinese government becomes cautious about how it subsidizes the country's SiC semiconductor development, the gap between leading SiC companies and those falling behind has widened. Sources said the former will likely receive the government's support more quickly, while the latter is expected to struggle.