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NXP-Freescale merger to spawn $4B automotive behemoth

Posted: 10 Apr 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NXP  Freescale  ADAS  automotive  in-vehicle networking 

Upon the close of the merger, the combined NXP and Freescale will bring forth a $4 billion automotive giant that essentially trumps the competition with its size as well as its multi-segment chip portfolio. However, of greatest interest is what will the new company do in the advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), a market forecast by IHS to hit $3 billion by 2020.

There's not that much in the way of product overlap between the two companies, and both entities are highly valued by major OEMs. The merger will provide for leadership across many automotive segments including in-vehicle networking, powertrain, chassis and safety, car entertainment and keyless access. It also sets up the giant with substantial growth for several years in application processors, audio, radar, vision, secure V2X and complete car security.

According to the IHS ADAS Semiconductor Market Tracker, the combined companies will target about 80 per cent of that $3 billion ADAS market. Specifically, it cites Freescale's processors, MCUs, systems processors (DSPs) and sensors and NXP's strength in networking ASSPs. The new company will have the technology, size and strength to go after the safety application market, including lane departure warning and pedestrian detection and address automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and other autonomous driving systems solutions.

Freescale announced an ASIL-compliant automotive image SoC (S32V) with sensor fusion capabilities. Renesas, TI and Mobileye are focusing on the same marketplace with similar SoCs as seen in the R-Car from Renesas, TDA from Texas Instruments and EyeQ from Mobileye.

Revenue estimates by IHS for MCUs, DSPs, processors and SoCs used for data fusion, front-view camera functions and radar-sensor functions include fourfold growth, reaching $600 million by 2020. Freescale is a major supplier for silicon-germanium (SiGe) 77GHz-based radar chipsets used in long-range and mid-range ADAS applications. Radar technology is primarily found in collision warning and AEB applications, which are a part of the car safety guidelines from EuroNCAP, NHTSA and other regional bodies. The radar sensor market is also expected to double by 2020.

The research firm also expects that vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) are critical to the evolution of self-driving functions, reporting that: "NXP could leverage Freescale's expertise in secure processors and combine their DSRC based wireless chipset technology to create a strong portfolio for the V2V communication market, which set to soar after 2020."

Also targeted is the automotive night-vision market by Freescale's microbolometers. Automotive night vision could be one of the technologies that implements sophisticated self-driving functions. It seems the new company will be a real force to reckon with.

- Carolyn Mathas

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