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News & Analysis

Jensen Huang, Nvidia CEO

Nvidia: Not ‘Just a Chip Company’ Anymore

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?
Ahead of its GTC AI and metaverse conference for developers next week, we review the budding results of Nvidia’s decade-long investment in artificial intelligence and its steady buildup of a strong hardware and software position in the segment. Nvidia is aiming for the AI Moon, and it may just be within its reach.

Artificial Intelligence, warts and all, appears destined to play a significant role not just in the semiconductor industry but also in the larger global economy over the next decade and Nvidia Corp. is setting itself up as a pioneer and major beneficiary of the new expected opportunities.   

Read More »Nvidia: Not ‘Just a Chip Company’ Anymore

IoT Chip Suppliers Race for a Better Mousetrap

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
In an era of increasingly diversified embedded and IoT system designs, competition among semiconductor companies is no longer about whose chip has the best performing spec. The industry’s attention is quickly shifting toward development platforms. At stake for chip vendors is whether they have chops to design effective tools that offer flexibility, ease of use, and the accelerated design cycle that customers want.

The business model in semiconductors is in flux. Chip companies can no longer rest easy with a conventional one-time approach to revenue generation.kost

Nowadays, many companies hope to develop a better mousetrap that can turn one-time customers into a “captive audience” generating “a recurring revenue stream.”

Read More »IoT Chip Suppliers Race for a Better Mousetrap
NASA chooses Microchip

Microchip: Riding RISC-V All the Way to New FPGA Platform

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
RISC-V’s open-standard instruction set architecture has already proven an effective underlying technology for designers seeking differentiated microcontrollers/microprocessors. Will RISC-V find a new home in FPGAs? Microchip believes it has the answer.

Microchip is enjoying a market resurgence for its FPGA products.

Originally developed by Actel Corp., later acquired by Microsemi (October 2010), and now owned by Microchip (May 2018), the peripatetic FPGA is known for its immunity to single event upsets and for military-grade reliability. Those attributes have opened opportunities for Microchip’s FPGAs in avionics, military, and medical electronics markets.

Read More »Microchip: Riding RISC-V All the Way to New FPGA Platform
Luca Verre, Prophesee CEO

Prophesee’s Big Three: Sony, Qualcomm and Smartphones

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
The successful rollout of breakthrough technologies is often the raison d’être of startups. Yet, the more unfamiliar the technology, the tougher for a fledgling startup to get the world on board. So it has gone for Prophesee. Prophesee, nonetheless, is on the cusp of turning its event-based image sensor into mainstream image-capture features for smartphone camerasThe startup owes this progress to its two big partners. Sony put Prophesee through the wringer, forcing it to meet its stringent milestone schedule for event-based CMOS image sensor development. A new alliance with Qualcomm provides its Snapdragon platform to run Prophesee’s fusion software.

By teaming with Sony, the world’s largest CMOS image sensor company, and Qualcomm, which commands a 50-percent share of the mobile SoC market, Prophesee, a Paris-based startup, is finally finding a massive volume market for its unique event-based cameras in smartphones.

Read More »Prophesee’s Big Three: Sony, Qualcomm and Smartphones
Silicon Chip Design and Verification

Is That an AI in My Chip Design?

By Ron Wilson

What’s at Stake:
Advances in AI could change the way chips are designed, potentially slashing design time, engineering staffing, and risk. Or they could be a huge, expensive distraction. Either way, AI is attracting attention and investment in the chip-design community.

Ever since the explosive debut of ChatGPT, a cascade of punditry — with varying degrees of information and understanding — has told us that this changes everything about creative human activities. Given the enormous investment and risk going into chip design in the semiconductor industry, we need to ask just how advances in AI will affect electronic design automation (EDA) — the engine that makes chip design possible.

Read More »Is That an AI in My Chip Design?
GlobalFoundries in Malta, New York

Can GM & GlobalFoundries Fix Auto Supply Chain Chaos?

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Can the automotive industry, hard hit by the global chip shortage, restore order to its chaotic and divided supply chain? General Motors and GlobalFoundries have devised a model they say can provide better visibility for demand and supply. Questions arise: Is the real motive for the new model just to cut out the middlemen? Will chip suppliers have a say? If so, at what cost?

General Motors Co. and GlobalFoundries (GF) have cut a deal. GF, the world’s fourth largest-earning foundry, is establishing a “dedicated capacity exclusively for GM’s chip supply,” while GM makes GF its preferred foundry. The deal compels GM’s semiconductor suppliers to manufacture chips exclusively at GF’s U.S. facility.

Read More »Can GM & GlobalFoundries Fix Auto Supply Chain Chaos?
Mercedes-Benz Level 3 Drive Pilot Certified in Nevada

Buyer Beware: Weaponized SAE Levels Are Here

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
2023 is turning into the year of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Forsaking the futile race to full autonomy, automakers have resorted to testing how much more automation technology they can cram into vehicles while charging more, promising software upgrades and selling consumers the claim that they’ve just bought a safer car.

There’s a catch. While car companies promise drivers more “freedom and convenience” — via eyes-off, hands-off features — they are finding ways to shirk responsibility when highly automated vehicles crash. 

Read More »Buyer Beware: Weaponized SAE Levels Are Here
Traveling at night in Cruise

AV Companies Got Real Data in San Francisco. NHTSA Wants It. 

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
AV companies in early 2023 are facing an unprecedented level of scrutiny. The city of San Francisco and federal safety regulators want to know a lot more about their technologies and how their systems are set up for safer operation on public roads. The authorities’ focus is less on the promise of AVs saving lots of lives in the long run, but on the records and operational data AV companies have yet to disclose.

The data – or its absence of it – has enabled progress for autonomous vehicle (AV) developers, despite the newness of the industry. Among the advancements they have made are public road testing, deployment of AVs without safety drivers, commercial rollout with paying passengers, and even the drafting of bills — extremely favorable to AV companies — for state legislatures.

Read More »AV Companies Got Real Data in San Francisco. NHTSA Wants It.