Auto Chips Drive New Architectures

This past year saw the introduction of new automotive chips that will power 2024-model-year vehicles. Driving the move towards domain and zonal architectures, they realize ideas that have been conceptual up to now.
Bryon Moyer
Bryon Moyer

Anticipation is high for the next generation of advanced vehicles hitting the roads late next year. In preparation, 2022 brought new chips that’ll support this fleet. Although these chips will initially serve mainly in high-end vehicles, all eyes are on advanced automotive functions and how the public will receive them.

The new automotive chips enable the transition to zonal or domain architectures, with Ethernet moving data around the vehicle. Autonomy, meanwhile, gets closer, albeit more slowly than originally expected. It requires functional safety, and 2022 saw new CPUs targeting applications that require this capability, too.

As vehicle production ramps following earlier shutdowns, TechInsights forecasts that 2022 will prove to have been the peak growth year for automotive semiconductors, as Figure 1 shows. Part of the growth reflects accelerated price increases that we expect to persist through 2027 before returning to traditional levels of yearly decline.

Semiconductor companies have placed concrete bets on their visions of the automotive future. Those bets will start to pay off (or not) next year as the 2024-model-year vehicles hit showrooms. Some new features are demand driven, in accordance with what consumers want; others are supply driven as OEMs look for new revenue sources. How those two trends balance out will set the tone for autonomy’s future. Early reviews will affect what the next generation will bring.

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