Intel, Qualcomm or Nvidia – well known for their computer and phone chips – struggle to make their way into the automotive world, which is fast approaching the heralded era of the driverless car.
While tech companies are becoming more and more involved and interested to enter the world of the automotive industry – just take Google or Apple as an example – the truth is that the industry is rather cautious when it comes to even big names like Intel, Qualcomm or Nvidia. That’s even as cars become significantly reliant on automation, from intelligent cruise control to sensors to remotely open the trunk when you have your hands occupied.
The main reasons are safety and reliability. Imagine a car loosing its “mind” like many phones, tablets or even computers often do – the error could led to a potentially fatal accident, not the loss of your beloved TV series.
“Experience in automotive is something that you don’t grow in one day,” said Luca De Ambroggi, an analyst at IHS. “The requirements are still tough.”
“We’re seeing a lot of interest in the industry in the new technologies,” said Danny Shapiro, Nvidia’s senior director of automotive. “Ultimately every car is going to have a supercomputer.”
While the market for automotive made chips is forecasted to increase by 6.1% to $27.9 billion in 2014, according to IHS Corp., with automated driver assistance systems chips projected at a 13% expansion for each year by 2020, the majority of automakers still go for their longtime suppliers, like Freescale Semiconductor, Renesas Electronics or STMicroelectronics NV – they all have a long standing working relation in the field.