Intelligent transportation is emerging as a global trend and a revolutionary force in the field. Bellwether Advanced Mobility Solutions (BAMS), a subsidiary of the UK-based Bellwether Industries, is developing a new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) transport vehicle designed for urban mobility. The aircraft is anticipated to become widely available by the year 2030.
Amazon has recently downsized its Alexa department, leading to the layoffs of hundreds of employees. Despite this, BMW has highlighted the advancement of Alexa technology in their in-car voice assistants, indicating a sustained market demand for such voice assistant capabilities, albeit with changes in the primary products they are integrated into. As more car manufacturers embrace cloud and AI technologies, the focal point shifts to enhancing the in-car user experience.
As cars become electrified and more intelligent, the automotive industry has put more effort into developing software. John Heinlein, chief marketing officer of US-based Sonatus, said the shift from hardware- to software-defined vehicles will not happen overnight. The transformation is a journey.
Although the Made-in-China 2025 Plan has yet to be completely achieved, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of China recently released a new document with the title of "Guidance for Humanoid Robotics Innovation Foundation Development", aiming to establish an innovative ecosystem for humanoid robotics by 2025.
EVs require four times of gallium nitride (GaN) or silicon carbide (SiC) devices compared with traditional cars. At an EV forum held by DIGITIMES on October 27, John Wang, DIGITIMES Research analyst, said Si, GaN and SiC devices can all fulfill a vehicle's needs for power semiconductors. The application in EVs will specifically benefit the growth of GaN and SiC.
AU Optronics (AUO) has been actively positioning itself in the automotive market as automotive applications becoming the third largest product line at AUO, surpassing LCD monitors and reaching more than NT$10 billion (around US$309.87 million) in single-quarter revenue.
By 2040, the global Electric Vehicle (EV) market is anticipated to hit a staggering US$2 trillion, outpacing the combined worth of semiconductor manufacturing, PCs, and smartphones. According to Pegatron, the transition to electric vehicles is merely the opening act; the true arena is the realm of intelligence. For automotive manufacturers, the pivotal battleground revolves around smart cabins.
Electrification is front and center in the CASE (connectivity, autonomous, shared, electrification) trend the automotive industry is experiencing. Many companies have chosen to showcase their capabilities in developing smart cockpits. As the computing and communication setups mature, smart cockpits are evolving rapidly.
The MEMS and Sensors Forum, part of Semicon Taiwan 2023, was held on September 5. Keynote speaker Prashanth Doreswamy, president and CEO of Continental Automotive Components (India) Pvt., said the primary catalyst of automotive technology development has shifted from horsepower to chips. Next-generation cars rely on electronics to enhance their performance.
Both Mercedes-Benz with its level 3 automated driving and Tesla have actively approached China with their full self-driving solutions (FSD). Despite not yet receiving formal approval for entry, Chinese media highlights Tesla's ongoing deployment of an on-site FSD team within China.
A recent official statement from Tesla discloses the establishment of a data center in China, intended to house all data generated by its vehicles in the country. This strategic move is believed to play a pivotal role in Tesla's establishment of its FSD team in China. This also indirectly signals the activation of Tesla's supercomputer within China.
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 automotive design company, Cruise X took the wraps off the X-Platform for logistics trucks. Albert Yang, the company's president, said the parent company, Studio X-Gene, embarked on EV projects, which left the team somewhat baffled in 2009. He held the view that many legacy automakers retained technologial advantages in internal combustion engines and transmission systems. Even though governments worldwide are imposing increasingly stringent regulations on air pollution and carbon emissions, the automotive industry's foundation isn't easily shaken. Nevertheless, when it boils down to the core component of automobiles—the chassis—it became the fundamental concept steering Cruise X's evolution.
Generative AI is expected to gain more exposure in future cars. Tesla and some China-based car companies are trying to integrate AI into their technologies. While commercialization is yet to come, Chinese automotive suppliers have started making efforts to create a stable supply of high-performance computing chips.
The Chinese government aims to stimulate its economy by encouraging more people to buy cars, especially EVs. The country announced a series of measures on July 20, including enhancing charging infrastructure and offering charging fee discounts.
Toyota announced an updated business plan for battery EVs after the new leadership took office. According to sources, automotive suppliers will not ignore the opportunities that Toyota can create for them while the carmaker has been falling behind Tesla, BYD or Volkswagen in growing its EV business.
Alongside the growing application of generative AI technology, the ongoing trend of AI servers adopting multiple GPU architectures is seen to bring various new business opportunities for Taiwan's supply chain players, particularly vendors of high-speed networking chips and equipment, according to industry sources.
Taiwan has the highest density of motorcycles in Asia. With the public, industry, and government prioritizing the safety of road users more, motorcycle IoT has become a unique topic in Taiwan's smart transportation development. Tien-Pen Hsu, executive director of the Taiwan Telematics Industry Association (TTIA) and lead researcher for the "Motorcycle IoT Collaborative Safety and Service Diffusion Experiment Research Project," stated that in terms of Taiwan's traffic environment, motorcycles have more urgency for IoT connectivity than cars.
Volkswagen has doubled down to grow its charging capability in the world's largest EV market. The automaker's China division announced on July 3 that it plans to increase capital investment in local charging service provider CAMS by CNY800 million (US$112 million) and launch a pilot charging program.
After surveying and analyzing the showcases at Taipei AMPA & Autotronics Taipei 2023 and E-Mobility Taiwan 2023 held in mid-April, DIGITIMES Research found that this year's event featured a growing number of high-voltage silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductor applications that significantly boost electrical vehicle (EV) efficiency, while the development of automotive electronics including mmWave radars, head-up displays (HUDs) and rear seat entertainment (RSE) systems are targeting mainly high-end applications, according to DIGITIMES Research's latest report covering the show.
When product autonomy is considered in the long run, it's not surprising to see carmakers and smartphone manufacturers in China vying to cross over into each other's market. However, as seen with Nio, Xiaomi, and Huawei, making a smart car completely in-house with only either the car owner base or the smartphone technology may not be the best market penetration strategy.
Germany-based automaker Mercedes-Benz recently obtained its second permit in the US for its L3 autonomous driving technology, Drive Pilot. As 2025, thought to be a watershed year in L3 autonomous vehicles, draws closer, global production plans for these vehicles remain sparse due to strict regulatory constraints on these advanced systems.
China-based Black Sesame Technologies announced on May 19 that it will provide local carmaker Hongqi Auto with its Huashan-2 A1000L series chips to enable an autonomous driving platform. In addition, the pair plan to start mass-producing vehicles based on the chip next year.
Tron Future Tech, a Taiwan-based startup specialized in active electronically scanned array (AESA) for drone and space applications, recently announced success in delivering the prototype of T.SpaceRouter, its automotive user terminal for low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication. In a press release, the company claimed that the T.SpaceRouter sourced 85% of components locally, marking a milestone for domestically developed automotive LEO satellite communication user terminals.
Qualcomm has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Autotalks, a fabless semiconductor company dedicated to vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.