Phil Amsrud, IHS Markit, presented market updates, autonomous sensors and future applications. He presented the global vehicle production by SAE level through 2026. The autonomy forecast model is that in 2025, there will be 0.6 million L4, and 2.6 million L3 vehicles. The emergence of L2+ in response to L3 will also happen. ADCs will evolve, and their respective SoC and memory content will also improve.
General trends impacting sensors ADAS systems are that L1 and L2 apps will continue to be the majority of shipments and revenue. Self-driving cars are capturing the imagination. L2+ has established itself as a preferred alternative to L3 and an enabler for L4/L5.
In terms of sensor shipments, cameras are dominating. Imaging radar is starting to get traction. In LiDar, frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) seems to be getting all the attention. There is the driver and occupant monitoring system, as well.
Image sensors continue to increase their resolutions. Sensing apps are going to 8MP. Additional developments include high-dynamic range and LED flicker mitigation/reduction. FIR is still limited in apps, but getting some attention since the AAA results in 2019.
For radar sensors, 24GHz is not being used in new designs. 77-81GHz will dominate frequencies for external apps and 60GHz will be for internal apps. New suppliers are entering the RF CMOS sensors market. High resolution, imaging, and radar are being evaluated.
In automotive LiDar systems, we are expecting some consolidation to happen. Solid-state solutions are preferred, but a combination of technologies may result. Aesthetics mater for privately-owned cars, so hiding sensors is important. Roof-mounted sensors are unacceptable.
Driver monitoring (ADAS) transforming into interior monitoring. The driver monitoring system (DMS) emerged to ensure the driver is present and engaged. Radars looking at DMS can monitor the driver health. NCAP is mandating systems to ensure driver is alert and attentive. DMS/OMS is also monitoring for occupants, including infants. Multiple radar, image, and other sensors will also detect unlawful activities, and health and safety of the occupants.
HD mapping is among the next wave of sensors (AD enablers). Crowd-sourced mapping also provides real-time traffic and road conditions. HD maps and cameras, radars and LiDar can allow self-driving cars to be operated in many different conditions.
ADAS/AD systems continue to grow, driven by L1/L2 systems. Powerful SoCs are changing the car’s architecture, and enabling sensor growth and diversity. Radar also continues to grow. There is no convergence observed for LiDars. FMWC is getting considerable attention right now.
SiC history from 2015-2020
Earlier, Stefan Zürcher, Team Leader, Process Engineering & Lab, AP&S, talked about the journey and development history on SiC from 2015-2020. There was process development on 100/150mm SiC. There were black spots on Al metallization, PR- and metal peering, and corrosion effects on Ag/Al pads. The layer was constructed with 2 resist layers with positive resist. There was qualification of a new process for metal lift-off on customer site.
The motivation for metal etch include rise of overall process performance. The challenges for metal etch included the avoidance of etch defects, defined undercut for each metal layer, and fine-tuning the etch/strip/rinse. Ti/Ni/Ag (evaporated) etch mask was developed. There was no residual metal. The throughput is 10 wafers per hour. Qualification of new process for metal etch and PR-strip was achieved on customer sites.
There is also the proces transfer of single wafer to batch. The equipment is currently installed at customer sites. There is calculated throughput at 150 wafers per hour. Successful integration and qualification of metal lift-off and metal etch on SiC was thus achieved. There is continuous process optimization for performance and stabilization.
GaN meeting automotive requirements
Dr. Kurt Smith, VisIC Technologies, presented on GaN to meet automotive high reliability requirements. D3GaN was chosen to meet the high reliability needs. To assess the reliability, there are operational limits of the devices. HIgh-voltage testing is the most limiting test condition, and is used for lifetime projections. This is considered the most conservative. All lateral GaN devices use the same epitaxial structure. Lateral GaN devices start similar.
The high-field regime (off-state) is the most restrictive wear out mechanism. Devices developed meet the lifetime requirements. On-state and switching are a combination of current and voltage. Switching overlap testing (SOT) will be the DC test combining field and current density in excess of peak switching. Large data shows that power devices should be extremely robust. The initial high-temperature operating lifetest (HTOL) shows stable operation. Understanding all the factors in operation is necessary to assess the reliability.
For GaN high electron mobility transistors, the difference is the gate. D-mode on power devices use insulated gate on top of the epitaxial layer. D-mode provides an easier path to product adoption in high-reliability apps. D3GaN has excellent margin to the onset of gate leakage. D3GaN us an excellent technology for meeting the high reliability needs.
Semiconductor Industry Association, USA, recently organized a webinar on how semiconductors are driving demand and creating innovation in automobile end market.
The panelists at the conference were Richard Robinson, Director, Automotive Infotainment and Telematics service at Strategy Analytics, Heinz-Peter Beckemeyer, Director of Automotive Systems at Texas Instruments, Bill Stewart, Senior Director, Vehicle Automation and Chassis at Infineon Technologies, and Ross Seymore, MD at Deutsche Bank Securities.
Richard Robinson, Strategy Analytics, opened the discussion, stating that overall short-term market outlook for production / sales was far more uncertain and potentially weak. There is the US / China trade war and general China slowdown. There are the Brexit uncertainties and German slowdown, as well. Further, there are WLTP issues and the ongoing impact of dieselgate, besides, Covid-19.
However, electronics fundamentals remain strong. Content per car will continue to grow. Key trends include domain collision, where everything is interconnected. Safety is touching everything. The more “silo-ed” your company is, the slower you will be.
New digital infrastructure
The future will see the emergence of a new digital infrastructure, where everything is converged. ADAS, autonomous, connected car, electric vehicles, data-enabled services, and shared mobility, are just some of the mega trends.
There will be architecture changes, as well. 2020-2022 period is one of distributed EE architecture, with limited domain consolidation, and primarily, via CDCs. 2023-2027 will be a critical period of change, with domain controller architecture. The number of CDCs will increase despite the large number of headunits in the market. 2027-203X will see the rise of location or zone-based EE architectures.
Some of the premium OEMs will begin shift to zone-based architecture. 20XX onward, there will be fully centralized processing architecture. There will be future proposed architecture. It is unknown if the automotive industry will actually embrace this approach.
As for component sourcing, the rising importance of semiconductor technologies will lead to OEMs working directly with the semiconductor industry. The IC vendor is more involved with software and application providers. Tier 1 role remains essentially the integration task, but with less freedom of choice, because the OEM significantly controls the network selection and dynamics.
Estimating the 5G mobile subscriptions, Strategy Analytics forecasts there will be 2.18 billion 5G subscriptions by 2025, accounting for 24 percent of all subscriptions. In North America, 5G subscriptions will reach 137 million in 2025 (63.2 percent of subscriptions). So far, this year, Strategy Analytics has seen 5G momentum in USA, China, and South Korea for 5G services, with the latter contributing significantly to global volumes.
Globally, 57 5G networks had launched by the end of 2019, which was roughly 18 months or six quarters after the first 5G launch (in 2017). This compares to just 16 4G LTE networks at the same time in that technology’s life, and just seven 3G W-CDMA networks.
Vehicle production had steep decline in 2020 due to Covid-19. The total in 2020 will be 74.1 MU, down from 89.0 MU in 2019 (-16.7 percent growth). All regions have been impacted. Biggest percentage falls have been in Brazil, India, and Thailand. Biggest volume falls have been in China, Europe, and NAFTA.
As for Covid-19 impact by domain, many areas for 2020 are now showing over 15 percent decline from 2019 levels. The exceptions are HEV/EV (actually still up on 2019) and ADAS (down a little on 2019), as these are still growth areas in terms of penetration rates.
Looking at the automotive semiconductor growth, the highest growth has been from safety and powertrain domains, such as ADAS, HEV/EV, move to GDI, and more auto transmission. Driver info growth was helped by move towards more complex clusters and connected vehicles, but also held back by integration trends.
Highest growth has been in opto, driven by external and interior lighting, cluster and isolation for HEV/EV. MPU/DSP/SoC growth was driven by ADAS, graphics, and infotainment platform multicore SoC. Linear was driven by RF (radar), IVN bus tx., and battery cell management. Power was driven by EV/HEV growth. Memory was driven by DRAM and flash growth, supporting ADAS, graphics, infotainment, etc.
Strong recovery likely
Strong recovery is expected as semiconductor content per car continues to increase. In 2020, automotive semiconductor demand is expected to decline by 10.1 percent to $37.6 billion, but ADAS and electrification will drive growth from 2021 onwards. In vehicle production, recovery is expected in 2021. Production will likely hit 97.1MU by 2024. There will be CAAGR of 1.8 percent over 2019-24.
China has been experiencing ADAS market growth. China has been growing from 13 percent of ADAS demand in 2017 to 27 percent in 2027. CAAGR from 2019 to 2024 is 30 percent, against 15 percent for total market. Covid-19 has accelerated this trend. The fastest growth is still in India, but Covid-19 is hitting hard here and the market remains tiny. The CAAGR from 2019-2024 is 42 percent. ADAS growth from Japanese vehicle production is now less than 10 percent CAAGR over 2019-2024. It is expected that plug-in car sales will overtake diesels in race to 2030 ban.
Heinz-Peter Beckemeyer pointed out that Texas Instruments remained a partner in systems innovation. It has advanced-assistance and autonomous driving capabilities for reducing human error. Passive safety systems are reliable solutions for increasing passenger safety. In body electronics and lighting, innovative analog and embedded processors are there to optimize comfort and convenience.
For infotainment and cluster, there are immersive systems that keep drivers more informed and less distracted. Hybrid and electric vehicles are reducing emissions by electrifying the systems from the car to the grid. There is also a roadmap toward zero-emission transportation. The move from micro and hybrid has started toward battery and electric in the future.
There are three key powertrain trends. First, is to add power with 48V. This will boost efficiency, manage power-hungry loads, and help in the transition from lead-acid battery to lithium-based batteries. Next, to evolve the battery management systems. There will be wired daisy-chain communication. Wireless will improve the reliability, efficiency, and design flexibility and scalability. Finally, there is a need to integrate the powertrain applications. This reduces weight, increases reliability, and optimizes cost.
Bill Stewart, Infineon Technologies, said the company is shaping the future of mobility with microelectronics enabling clean, safe, smart cars. Infineon claims to have the industry’s broadest product portfolio covering the entire range of automotive applications.
Increased sensor requirements drive the content in the next five years and beyond. More sensors are required for any next level of automation. Dependable electronics are the foundation for trust. Dependability is the key driver for the megatrend automated driving.
Automated driving systems are fueling the need for trust. Higher level of automated driving requires trust. And, trust requires dependable systems. Dependable systems are highly available and secure systems, increasing the need for more dependable electronics. You can ensure high availability beyond critical operations; a safe and secure system, that operates in all conditions. You can also ensure critical operations in the event of a failure.
Dependability is part of Infineon’s cultural mindset with system understanding as one of its key ingredients. Infineon leverages a deeply embedded system thinking.
Ross Seymore, Deutsche Bank, said that Covid-19 impact yields automotive roller coaster. Rising content is the key driver of automotive semiconductors growth. Electrification is driving the doubling of semiconductor content. ADAS adds several hundreds of dollars to the semiconductor content.
From level 2, which includes active safety NCAP 5 Star (basic parking, traffic jam assist, and lane assist), we are moving up to level 3 that will have highly automated features, such as advanced parking, semi- autonomous highway/traffic jam assist, lane assist, emergency braking, etc. Level 4/5 will see to a fully automated car. This includes a fully automated driving pilot, and driverless valet parking, etc.
The session was moderated by Falan Yinug, Director of Industry Statistics and Economy Policy at SIA.
The 5GAA organized a conference on CV2X. The theme was: reducing EU transport emissions: Can C-V2X deployment play a significant role?
Brian Maguire, Euractiv, said the European Commission is working on a sustainable and smart mobility. The strategy includes 90 percent reduction in emissions by 2050. Policy makers are leveraging digitization and automation, and connectivity.
There was a panel, featuring Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen, European Commission, Geert Decock, Manager, Electricity and Energy, T&E, Ms. Henna Virkkunen, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Ms. Isabel Wilmink, Senior Scientist, TNO, and Maxine Flament, CTO, 5GAA.
Environmental benefits of CV2X
Ms. Isabel Wilmink discussed the environmental benefits of CV2X and connected mobility. There are potential for environmental benefits, using traffic control/traffic signal, eco-routing, eco-driving, eco-lanes, alert systems, low emission zones, etc.
On the co-operative adaptive cruise control (CACC) compared to adaptive cruise control (ACC) on rural roads, CO2 reduction of 6 percent per km on average for seven 20-minute trip pairs. Eco-driving on motorways saw CO2 reduction per km averaged over all traffic cars during 1 hour and 20 minutes in situations with congestion.
For intelligent intersections, there was CO2 reduction of 22 percent on average for trucks driving at about 80 kmph on a 2km traject with intelligent intersection and comparing one to no stop. There were CO2 reductions of 13, 21, 18, and 14 percent, respectively, for passenger cars driving at constant speeds of 30, 50, 80, and 100kmph respectively, and comparing one stop to no stop.
With CV2X implementations, existing communications technologies can already meet the requirements of most identified promising use cases in terms of bandwidth and latency. More advanced features could address requirements of QoS guarantees and massive equipment deployment. For the V2V, V2I, and V2N use cases and combinations, there are possibilities of short- and/or long-range communication existing. Some features are currently planned, and the same applies for the deployment possibilities.
Real-world pilots, simulation studies, and driving simulator studies have shown the potential to reduce emissions. Effect sizes were found in the order of 5-20 percent. A high-reduction potential was identified for an ‘everything-to-everything’ scenario. Many services were designed for other purposes. Emission-reduction potential of these services can be optimized by tuning algorithms and parameters for emission and energy use reduction. There is additional potential in MaaS-like services. Successful implementation depends on the business cases, besides technology.
Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen, thanked TNO for bringing new elements in the study. There are traffic-level impacts. This can have the highest impact on infrastructure and air quality, etc. CV2X and MaaS can also have an impact. The congestion cost is 1 percent of the EU budget, which is huge. The EC is making data availability and sharing to be the best. There are moves to collect and share data, as well as data governance. Real-time data collection is also coming up. We also need to make sure that everything is tested.
There is also the CCAM platform. The Co-operative, Connected, Automated and Autonomous Mobility (CCAM) single platform consists of an informal group of private and public stakeholders. The aim of this platform is to advise and support the EC in the area of open road testing and making the link to pre-deployment activities. The JIC lab has mobility solutions. There is an expression of interest open till December 31, 2020.
Decarbonization of transport
Ms. Henna Virkkunen, MEP, said there is a pressing need to make transport more safe and clean. Emissions have been increasing all the time in transportation. Before the pandemic, passenger transport was estimated to grow by more than 40 percent by 2050. This may change due to the pandemic. The modes of transport may not change, necessarily. The increasing need for mobility and transport will remain. The significance of smart mobility and digitalization are also increasing.
Vehicle-to-everything and CV2X are great examples. They are giving opportunities to us for making transport more safe. They will play a big part in the EU’s emission reduction. Digitalization will be key for efficient transport system.
Geert Decock, T&E, said they are working on decarbonization of transport. There are three revolutions happening: autonomous and connected vehicles, electrification of vehicles, and shared mobility and new mobility, which we are seeing with Uber, etc. A fourth is urban planning and policies. We need reduced space for cars in cities.
We need to increase the share of EVs in the fleet. We need to have more rapid charging. We need to see how we can have more batteries on wheels, and manage the growing share of wind and solar on the grid. We see three benefits with smart charging of vehicles. We don’t need to upgrade the grid at the peak times. You can reduce the use of renewables, say, mid day. You can also charge PV or renewable energy in your vehicles. You can help decarbonize the transport sector.
We also need to roll out more smart charging infrastructure. You also need smart meters. Consumers can charge their cars when the electricity is more cheap. We also need data access that is interoperable.
Clear role for connected vehicles
Maxine Flament, 5GAA, thanked the EU for their green targets, especially, the emission reductions. There is a clear role to play for the connected vehicle. Digitalization of vehicles is a tool for smarter decisions. These will lead to cleaner mobility and efficiency gains.
Connected vehicles are already deployed today. There are approximately 180 million units deployed globally. There is some kind of connectivity to the mobile networks. With 5G, we need to ensure that we are using connectivity for the benefit of the environment. We also need to ensure that connected mobility is contributing to the environment. It is all about the traffic flow management. For MaaS, connectivity is very important.
The global trends today are connectivity, automation, shared mobility and electrification. These are together very important to achieve the eventual goals of the EU. Connectivity brings seamless transport for everyone. The combination, in general, comes with more intelligence.
Data framework and connectivity
Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen, EC, said that there is need to ensure a framework to allow data to be shared. Geert Decock, T&E, said that the state of charge of an EV is very important. That is under discussion. There is the need for the implementation of the market design rules. There needs to be time-sensitive electricity pricing, flexible tariffs, etc. You should be able to charge your car when it is most beneficial for the grid.
Ms. Isabel Wilmink, TNO, felt that EVs can also be programmed to drive more efficiently. We also need to optimize traffic flows. Vehicles should be able to adapt when they approach the intersections.
Ms. Henna Virkkunen, MEP, added that we can achieve targets. We need to create an innovation-friendly regulation framework. We also have to set the legislation for access to data. We need to boost the investments for fast connections. Good and fast connections are required all over Europe. We need good infrastructure, as well. Access to data is very important for innovation. Governance regulation will play a major part.
Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen said we should use green bonus to incentivize. Member states can share their resilience and recovery plans. We need to study the contribution of connectivity further.
Maxine Flament added that connectivity is coming to the vehicles. It will be used for exchanging the relevant data. Manufacturers should bring right connectivity to the vehicles. Mobile network operators need to bring the coverage. Different authorities have to design the right interfaces with the right data. Here, collaboration will be really needed.
There are already many incentives for customers to buy cars that are more efficient. Connectivity brings a whole new light to the intelligence of the vehicle and transport. We need to ensure that things are connected within the vehicles.
Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen added there is need for the revision of real-time data information. We need to ensure the right types of data sets that are needed. Next year, we will also consider access to car data. These are frameworks that will help to incentivize.
Paris, France-based VSORA, is delivering the first PetaFLOPS computational platform to accelerate L4 and L5 autonomous vehicles designs. The programmable solution is delivered as an IP block that combines DSP and ML acceleration for the autonomous driving industry. Its multicore DSP and AI architecture eliminates the need for DSP co-processors and hardware accelerators to provide a high degree of flexibility.
Elaborating on the VSORA PetaFLOPS computational platform, Khaled Maalej, CEO and founder of VSORA, said it offers significant processing power to implement AI and ‘traditional’ signal processing algorithms in the same chip simultaneously.
“The frontier between AI and DSP is fading away, and ADAS/AD (autonomous driving) is proof of that. In ADAS/AD applications, there is no limit in terms of required processing power, the more you have, the better algorithms you can design, to the benefit of higher reliability in your designs. This is key in automotive.”
It is not rocket science to implement a PetaFLOPS solution. The challenge is to design an efficient platform in terms of high processing power and low energy consumption to embed in a car.
For example, a PetaFLOPS platform can only use 10 percent of the resources because it cannot feed all the computational units with data to keep them constantly active is processing only 100 TeraFLOPS (10 times less). A major bottleneck rests with the external memory, and that is one of the main issues we have addressed in our innovative architecture. We can exceed 80% efficiency in most of the cases.
He added: “In addition to high computational power and low energy consumption, we also offer a high-level of abstraction development flow. We compile Matlab-like or TensorFlow-like code, or a combination of both, straight through to RTL to accelerate the development and allow the algorithmic engineers to focus on creating more advanced algorithms. In other words, we remove the implementation from designer tasks, and provide them with quick and accurate end results to enable “trail-and-errors” analysis or to experiment with different algorithms.”
Regarding the automotive mega trends, such as autonomy, electrification, and connectivity, positioned for 2021, he added that lately, lots of financial resources and human effort are spent in ADAS/AD, aiming at getting significant outcomes in 2023, and landmark changes in 2025.
Zero defect for zero accidents
Next, I wanted to know how VSORA has been enabling zero defect, a must to enable zero accidents for autonomous vehicles.
He said that the zero defect must be supported by several elements in the autonomous driving vehicle to reach the zero accidents. In hardware implementation, the most important elements today are algorithms and sensors. While algorithm redundancy is needed, also needed are several sensors in the car.
The data provided by all these sensors must be fused in order to build a reliable environment for driving the car. On a foggy day, for instance, the control system cannot rely on the cameras. Instead, it may have to use radars and/or lidars. The switch between the two types of sensors must happen smoothly and reliably. The VSORA device has been designed to ensure the above.
Next, there is a need to know how are automotive electronics changes, including those in the internal combustion engine (IGE), shaping up? He said car manufacturers are facing a significant challenge in implementing AD vehicles. The car is becoming the most complex system in the industrial world. Microsoft Office includes around 40-million lines of code. The software in the autonomous driving car is requiring around 100-million lines of code!
Maalej added, “Car makers have to build their own OS, and use a computational platform in the range of the PetaFLOPS to handle the complexity.”
Further, how is VSORA meeting the need for increased power density, integration of disparate technology? Maalej said a PetaFLOPS platform can consume significant energy that may prevent its integration into the car. We had to address this issue and we did so with two approaches:
First, the architecture is designed to reduce to the maximum data transfer from external memory using an embedded RAM for storing and transferring data between the AI and DSP sections of the platform. Unique to our approach is that the SRAM acts as a vast collection of registers. Second, we adjust the computation accuracy of the system on-the-fly as needed.
Achieving ADAS autonomy
Are we currently far from achieving autonomy for ADAS? He noted that while there are still some challenges to solve, in general, the development is advancing very rapidly. The Level 4 (L4) autonomous driving should be available in some high-end cars in 2025/2026.
The L5 autonomous driving, where the dashboard and the steering wheel will disappear, will take longer and not because of intricate technical issues. Rather, because of legal issues (who is responsible when an accident happens?). Basically, L4 is L5 without a dashboard and steering wheel. It has the same level of technology.
Next, how is the multicore DSP and AI architecture eliminating the need for DSP co-processors and hardware accelerators? He said that in virtually, all the existing DSP implementations, an important portion of processing power is off-loaded to a dedicated hardware. This is called co-processors. They are hard-wired and not programmable. If you need/want to change your algorithm, the above prevents you from achieving your objective.
He added: “In our solution, we do not need/use co-processors. Everything is programmable. We have a different architecture and we implemented a new DSP approach, driven by 5G and 6G applications.”
Finally, who all are using VSORA solutions so far? Without disclosing names, a major European car manufacturer already taped out the platform in 7nm process and confirmed the validity of VSORA’s claims.
TrendForce has provided its forecast of 10 key trends in the tech industry for 2021.
As the DRAM industry officially enters the EUV era, NAND Flash stacking technology advances past 150L
The three major DRAM suppliers, Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron, will not only continue their transition towards the 1Znm and 1alpha nm process technologies, but also formally introduce the EUV era, with Samsung leading the charge, in 2021. DRAM suppliers will gradually replace their existing double patterning technologies in order to optimize their cost structure and manufacturing efficiency.
After NAND Flash suppliers managed to push memory stacking technology past 100 layers in 2020, they will be aiming for 150 layers and above in 2021 and improving single-die capacity from 256/512Gb to 512Gb/1Tb. Consumers will be able to adopt higher-density NAND Flash products through the suppliers’ efforts to optimize chip costs.
While PCIe Gen 3 is currently the dominant bus interface for SSDs, PCIe Gen 4 will start gaining increased market share in 2021 owing to its integration in PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and motherboards featuring Intel’s new microarchitecture. The new interface is indispensable for fulfilling the massive data transfer demand from high-end PCs, servers, and HPC data centers.
Mobile network operators will step up their 5G base station build-out while Japan/Korea look ahead to 6G
The 5G Implementation Guidelines: SA Option 2, released by the GSMA in June 2020, delves into great technical details regarding 5G deployment, both for mobile network operators and from a global perspective. Operators are expected to implement 5G standalone architectures (SA) on a large scale in 2021.
In addition to delivering connections with high speed and high bandwidth, 5G SA architectures will allow operators to customize their networks according to user applications and adapt to workloads that require ultra-low latency. However, even as 5G rollout is underway, Japan-based NTT DoCoMo and Korea-based SK Telecom are already focusing on 6G deployment, since 6G allows for various emerging applications in XR (including VR, AR, MR, and 8K and above resolutions), lifelike holographic communications, WFH, remote access, telemedicine, and distance education.
Internet of Things evolves into Intelligence of Things as AI-enabled devices move closer to autonomy
In 2021, deep AI integration will be the primary value added to IoT, whose definition will evolve from Internet of Things to Intelligence of Things. Innovations in tools such as deep learning and computer vision will bring about a total upgrade for IoT software and hardware applications. Taking into account industry dynamics, economic stimulus, and remote access demand, IoT is expected to see large-scale adoption across certain major verticals, namely, smart manufacturing and smart healthcare.
With regards to smart manufacturing, the introduction of contactless technology is expected to speed up the arrival of industry 4.0. As smart factories pursue resilience, flexibility, and efficiency, AI integration will equip edge devices, such as cobots and drones, with even more precision and inspection capabilities, thereby transforming automation into autonomy. On the smart healthcare front, AI adoption can transform existing medical datasets into enablers of process optimization and service area extension.
For instance, AI integration delivers faster thermal image recognition that can support the clinical decision-making process, telemedicine, and surgical assistance applications. These aforementioned applications are expected to serve as crucial functions fulfilled by AI-enabled medical IoT in diverse settings ranging from smart clinics to telemedicine centers.
Integration between AR glasses and smartphones will kick-start a wave of cross-platform applications
AR glasses will move towards a smartphone-connected design in 2021 in which the smartphone serves as the computing platform for the glasses. This design allows for significant reduction in cost and weight for AR glasses. In particular, as the 5G network environment becomes more mature in 2021, the integration of 5G smartphones and AR glasses will enable the latter to not only run AR apps more smoothly, but also fulfill advanced personal audio-visual entertainment functionalities through leveraging the added computing power of smartphones. As a result, smartphone brands and mobile network operators are expected to venture into the AR glasses market on a large scale in 2021.
A crucial part of autonomous driving, driver monitoring systems (DMS) will skyrocket in popularity
Automotive safety technology has evolved from an application for car exteriors to one for car interiors, while sensing technology is moving towards a future where it integrates driver status monitoring with external environmental readings. Similarly, automotive AI integration is evolving past its existing entertainment and user assistance functions, into an indispensable enabler of automotive safety.
In light of the string of traffic accidents in which the drivers ignored road conditions due to their overreliance on ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), which have recently skyrocketed in adoption rate, the market is once again paying close attention to driver monitoring functions.
In the future, the main thrust of driver monitoring functions will be focused on the development of more active, reliable, and accurate camera systems. By detecting the driver’s drowsiness and attention through iris tracking and behavioral monitoring, these systems are able to identify in real time whether the driver is tired, distracted, or driving improperly.
As such, DMS (driver monitoring systems) have become an absolute necessity in the development of ADS (autonomous driving systems), since DMS must serve multiple functions simultaneously, including real-time detection/notification, driver capability assessment, and takeover of driving controls whenever necessary. Vehicles with DMS integration are expected to enter mass production in the near future.
Foldable displays will see adoption in more devices as a means of upping screen real estate
As foldable phones progressed from concept to product in 2019, certain smartphone brands successively released their own foldable phones to test the waters. Although these phones’ sell-through performances have so far been mediocre owing to their relatively high costs – and, by extension, retail prices – they are still able to generate much buzz in the mature and saturated smartphone market. In the next few years, as panel makers gradually expand their flexible AMOLED production capacities, smartphone brands will continue to focus on their development of foldable phones.
Furthermore, foldable functionality has been seeing increasing penetration in other devices as well, specifically notebook computers. With Intel and Microsoft leading the charge, various manufacturers have each released their own dual-display notebook offerings. In the same vein, foldable products with single flexible AMOLED displays are set to become the next hot topic.
Notebooks with foldable displays will likely enter the market in 2021. As an innovative flexible display application and as a product category that features flexible displays much larger than previous applications, the integration of foldable displays in notebooks is expected to expend manufacturers’ flexible AMOLED production capacity to some degree.
Mini LED and QD-OLED will become viable alternatives to white OLED
Competition between the display technologies is expected to heat up in the high-end TV market in 2021. In particular, Mini LED backlighting enables LCD TVs to have finer control over their backlight zones and therefore deeper display contrast compared with current mainstream TVs. Spearheaded by market leader Samsung, LCD TVs with Mini LED backlighting are competitive with their white OLED counterparts while offering similar specs and performances.
Furthermore, given their superior cost-effectiveness, Mini LED is expected to emerge as a strong alternative to white OLED as a display technology. On the other hand, Samsung Display (SDC) is betting on its new QD OLED technology as a point of technological differentiation from its competitors, as SDC is ending its LCD manufacturing operations. SDC will look to set the new gold standard in TV specs with its QD OLED technology, which is superior to white OLED in terms of color saturation. TrendForce expects the high-end TV market to exhibit a cutthroat new competitive landscape in 2H21.
Advanced packaging will go full steam ahead in HPC and AiP
The development of advanced packaging technology has not slowed down this year despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the various manufacturers release HPC chips and AiP (antenna in package) modules, semiconductor companies such as TSMC, Intel, ASE, and Amkor are eager to participate in the burgeoning advanced packaging industry as well. With regards to HPC chip packaging, due to these chips’ increased demand on I/O lead density, the demand on interposers, which are used in chip packaging, has increased correspondingly as well.
TSMC and Intel have each released their new chip packaging architectures, branded 3D fabric and Hybrid Bonding, respectively, while gradually evolving their third-generation packaging technologies (CoWoS for TSMC and EMIB for Intel), to fourth-generation CoWoS and Co-EMIB technologies.
In 2021, the two foundries will be looking to benefit from high-end 2.5D and 3D chip packaging demand. With regards to AiP module packaging, after Qualcomm released its first QTM products in 2018, MediaTek and Apple subsequently collaborated with related OSAT companies, including ASE and Amkor. Through these collaborations, MediaTek and Apple hoped to make headways in the R&D of mainstream flip chip packaging, which is a relatively low-cost technology.
AiP is expected to see gradual integration in 5G mmWave devices starting in 2021. Driven by 5G communications and network connectivity demand, AiP modules are expected to first reach the smartphone market and subsequently the automotive and tablet markets.
Chipmakers will pursue shares in the AIoT market through an accelerated expansionary strategy
With the rapid development of IoT, 5G, AI, and cloud/edge computing, chipmakers’ strategies have evolved from singular products, to product lineups, and finally to product solutions, thereby creating a comprehensive and granular chip ecosystem. Looking at the development of major chipmakers in recent years from a broad perspective, the continuous vertical integration of these companies have resulted in an oligopolistic industry, in which localized competition is more intense than ever.
Furthermore, as 5G commercialization generates diverse application demands for various use cases, chipmakers are now offering full service vertical solutions, ranging from chip design to software/hardware platform integration, in response to the vast commercial opportunities brought about by the rapid development of the AIoT industry. On the other hand, chipmakers who were unable to position themselves in time according to market needs will likely find themselves exposed to the risk of overreliance on a single market.
Active matrix Micro LED TVs will make their highly anticipated debut in the consumer electronics market
The release of large-sized micro LED displays by Samsung, LG, Sony, and Lumens in recent years marked the start of micro LED integration in large-sized display development. As micro LED application in large-sized displays gradually matures, Samsung is expected to be the first in the industry to release its active matrix micro LED TVs, therefore cementing year 2021 as the first year of micro LED integration in TVs.
Active matrix addresses pixels by making use of the display’s TFT glass backplane, and since the IC design of active matrix is relatively simple, this addressing scheme therefore requires a relative low amount of routing. In particular, active matrix driver ICs require PWM functionality and MOSFET switches in order to stabilize the electrical current driving micro LED displays, necessitating a new and extremely expensive R&D process for such ICs. Therefore, for micro LED manufacturers, their greatest challenges at the moment in pushing micro LED to the end devices market lie in technology and cost.
Please note: These are all the predictions from TrendForce, Taiwan for 2021.
SEMI and McKinsey & Co. hosted a webinar on Smart mobility: Next-gen transportation enabled by sensorization.
Ms. Bettina Weiss, Chief of Staff and Global Smart Mobility Lead, SEMI, said that SEMI Smart Mobility is currently focused on automotive electronics. It is synchronizing automotive and semiconductor supply chain issues. It is also expanding engagement into the mobility space (ACES), going forward, including smart cities.
SEMI has a Global Automotive Advisory Council (GAAC), with five active chapters across China, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and USA. The GAAC addresses the shared challenges/gaps and accelerated the time to innovation. The issues addressed, but not limited to, include OEM requirements, (eg., chip design and reliability), standardization/BKMs (eg. SIC), technology developments (eg., ADAS), market drivers and disruptions. SEMI is well positioned to synchronize the ecosystem needs.
Andreas Breiter, Partner, McKinsey & Co., said that there are four major mobility trends that are impacting the global automotive sensor market. The major disruptions are autonomy, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility.
Autonomy looks at the rise of advanced safety features and autonomous driving platforms. Connectivity looks at 5G, Wi-Fi 6, etc., and enabling new use cases (V2X, V2V, OTA updates). Electrification looks at the rise of electrical powertrain, new battery technologies, and demand for power electronics. Shared mobility allows the introduction of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS). There are major disruptions with impact across the semiconductor segments.
Armen Mkrtchyan, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Co., added that the automotive software and E/E (electrical/electronics) market is expected to grow at CAGR of 7 percent per annum, until 2030. Sensors are likely to grow by 8 percent per annum. The total automotive sensor market will outgrow automotive sales primarily driven by strong growth in ADAS sensors.
New sensors for electric drives (eg., current sensors) counterbalance the decline of combustion sensors. There will be an increasing number of chassis sensors, due to needs for ADAS/AD systems and additional comfort features.
In the ADAS sensors, camera and radar are among the largest sensor class. LiDAR will likely experience significant growth till 2030. By 2030, the industrialization of LiDAR sensors will lead to significant growth. Sensor content per vehicle will vary drastically between different vehicle types.
There will be reduction of content per car, from 2025-2030, due to the commoditization of components and higher fleets to distribute costs. Traditional sensor market is also expected to experience modest growth. Pressure sensors will require more efficient ICEs (internal combustion engines). Powertrain electrification trend is a mixed signal to the pressure sensor.
Andreas Breiter continued that smart roads will include intelligent traffic systems and support new modes of transport, such as electrical and autonomous vehicles. Smart road solutions will result in changes to the roadway over time as disruptions come online and reach critical mass.
Eg., in five years, the vehicle support infrastructure system will be upgraded with autonomous vehicle support infrastructure. Eg., an intelligent transportation system (ITS) requires various sensors for detecting traffic flow. Dynamic pricing also requires sensors to detect vehicles and open parking spaces, for smart parking.
Implications for semicon
The Key buying factors by the automotive tier 1/OEMs are robustmess of the sensors and quality assurance provided. Tier 1 requires the sensor suppliers to assure sensor IC function, but not to the extent of an integrated system level.
The sensor makers can address the unmet needs of the automotive tier 1 and the OEMs by increasing the level of customization.