Seven megatrends for mobility: Autonomous driving is just the beginning – design-in

Seven megatrends for mobility

20 May 2022 at 10.00 | by Andreas Mangler, Director Strategic Marketing at Rutronik

Tierney /

Networked, smart, automated and autonomous: Digitization technologies, the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing the production and use of future vehicles.

Andreas Mangler, Director Strategic Marketing at Rutronik

By 2030, the automotive industry will be shaped by seven trends, some of which will build on each other – with significant effects on the demand structure for electronic components and the supply chain.

1. Connected vehicles: With connectivity to other vehicles (V2V) and components (V2X) such as smartphones or parts of the traffic infrastructure, they need to optimize traffic, ensure increased security and make infotainment services more user-friendly.

2. Autonomous driving: This also includes all auxiliary systems whose further development will ultimately be the key to full autonomous driving. This autonomy is particularly interesting in a professional context, e.g. B. for “platooning”, where a number of several trucks drive independently on the motorway, but also for agricultural and other commercial vehicles and those that are not on the road, e.g. B. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs).

3. Electromobility

4.HMI: digitized control concepts for user-vehicle interaction such as touch screens and switches.

5. Changed customer structure: The traditional importance of a car has been reduced due to new mobility concepts. Private car buyers are increasingly being replaced by buyers from fleet operators or providers of various mobility-on-demand models.

6. New sales channel: Some customer-specific vehicle features are activated for certain vehicle owners through remote access from the factory as a pay-per-use model, e.g. B. a meter-accurate navigation for package carriers.

7. Digital industry: The production process is further digitized on the basis of forward-looking and self-learning systems.

Reference design for an HV switch, developed as a result of the collaboration between Rutronik Automotive Business Unit and Vishay

These trends pose enormous challenges for the supply of components. After phases of continuous growth – seen over a long period of time – there was an extremely declining market at the end of 2019 and 2020, also due to the pandemic. The production capacity of component manufacturers was reduced, on the one hand due to the massive decline in demand that had occurred during the first phase of the corona pandemic, and on the other hand due to electromobility and the significant expansion of auxiliary systems combined with the economic recovery in the years 2021 and 2022 a large increase in demand.

All manufacturers are currently investing massively to have a competitive advantage when the next stage on the road to full autonomous driving is reached. For this, they need numerous camera and sensor systems as well as communication components. In addition, the complexity of the software in the vehicles is increasing, as is the amount of data processed here. Translated into components, this means a steeply increasing demand for memory components, embedded MCUs and processors – and with them significant amounts of microchips as well as passive and electromechanical components.

Semiconductors for everyone – but only with huge investments

The required semiconductor chips come from very few semiconductor foundries worldwide. TSMC occupies a key position along with only Intel and a few memory manufacturers, above all Samsung. Other important foundries on the market are Globalfoundries, UMC, SMIC or TowerJazz (now Intel acquisitions). Compared to TSMC, the market shares in the product and semiconductor process segments that are important for the mobility market are relatively small. That’s exactly why Intel started the strategic acquisition of TowerJazz to create an important, complementary base pill in analog / mixed signals outside of processor and memory technology. Against this background, a TSMC production facility in Europe or in Germany would be an important step despite the huge investments, some of which would certainly have to be covered by subsidies. For without such partners on the ground in Europe, the hunger for semiconductors will not be satisfied in the future either.

The situation is made even more difficult by the fact that the same components are also used in large quantities for infrastructure applications and consumer electronics. This is partly directly or indirectly related to the car market. For example, if you look at the trend of a changed customer structure due to mobility-on-demand services or shared mobility, the same electronic components are required for all elements in this scenario – starting with the smartphone including the corresponding infrastructure, especially when looking at the structure of the 5G network, so consider, for booking and billing, right up to the vehicles themselves. In driver assistance systems such as 3D cameras, lidar, radar, ultrasonic sensors, telemetry, position detection or head-up displays, the same or similar semiconductor processes are used as in the consumer goods industry with its much larger quantities. The same applies to electromobility with associated charging options and the smartphone for billing.

This is especially true of China. Following the first major corona lockdowns, the country is experiencing a huge recovery due to huge investments in 5G infrastructure and in vehicle electrification. The electric car stock in China has long since broken the 20 percent limit. The demand for components is therefore just as huge, affecting global availability. There is no sign of a short-term trend reversal here.

  1. Autonomous driving is just the beginning
  2. SiC and GaN electrify the vehicles

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Rutronik Electronic Components GmbH, Vishay Electronic GmbH, TSMC Europe BV

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