“NXP is working extensively on the driverless cars ”

Sanjay Gupta, Vice President and India Country Manager, NXP India

NXP Semiconductors started operation in India in 1998 with a mission of making India a center of excellence in SoC Integration and IP design. In 2007, NXP India expanded its Noida operation with acquisition of 300,000-sqare-foot campus, shares Sanjay Gupta, Vice President and India Country Manager, NXP India. Excerpts:

How do you see the automotive electronics market in India? How it has evolved over the last few years?

The Indian automotive industry is transforming at a significant pace, so much so that it has emerged as the seventh largest in the world. The automotive electronics industry is set to rise to Rs.13.04 lakh crore ($240 billion) by 2020. The growing consumer demand for performance, safety and infotainment systems in the vehicles has given rise to the inflated demands. Today if we look at any modern car it contain up to 100 control units (ECUs), managing everything from infotainment to mission-critical systems. Innovation especially in this segment is growing and will also be instrumental in decreasing road safety concerns. One trend which is quite dominant is product innovation which is evolving constantly. Today, manufacturers use innovations like smart objects, autonomous production, and access to the cloud to support customization on a large scale and manufacture products in close to real-time. This is further accelerated by the use of NFC, IoT and will increase automation dramatically. This paves way for complex electronic systems and providing cost competitive electronic solutions is a challenge and an opportunity for Indian automotive companies.

There is a lot of potential for the automotive electronics segment in India especially with the advent of concepts like IoT and Smart Cities. There has been a major thrust in the safety and infotainment/interior electronics space, with safety being mandated by governments and ratified by a consortium of automotive OEMs in recent times. According to ReportsnReports, global auto electronics market is to grow at a CAGR of 14.42% during the period 2016-2020. Consumer demand has also fueled developments in the lighting, emergency systems, and display space in the automotive interior and exterior electronics spaces.

How has it made a huge impact to the auto industry?

The technologies that are gradually pushing vehicular electronics toward navigating and communicating with each other have already been adopted from the aviation industry. Connected vehicular technologies are also significant and are considered middle ground between purely mechanical components and pure electronics. The auto industry is ever evolving and thrives upon new technological developments for growth as newer built in features in the car are grabbing eyeballs of potential buyers. For instance, we have seen a gradual phase out of mechanical and hydraulic systems from vehicles and entry of electronic or hybrid substitutes in passenger cars and commercial vehicles segment. Consumers these days are moving towards technological developments which will make their life easy and hassle free. In the age of digital connectivity, the technology inside car plays an important role. The concepts like smart cities and internet of things are turning into the reality that is the reason behind digital technology acting as a growth driver for the overall auto industry.

What is NXP’s India focus with regards to the automotive electronics industry?

NXP Semiconductors started operation in India in 1998 with a mission of making India a center of excellence in SoC Integration & IP design. In 2007, NXP India expanded its Noida operation with acquisition of 300,000-sqare-foot campus. The India Design Center is involved in development of hardware and software designs for the embedded market.

We are working extensively to develop technologies and solutions in the in-car infotainment, in-vehicle networking, Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), powertrain, chassis, body and overall secure car. Today 90% of auto innovation is happening via electronics and there is further more opportunity in this segment. We are working with multiple Indian OEMs in India and abroad and this is a segment contributes a significant amount to our overall business.

Today, we are the #1 suppliers of automotive electronics and a significant part of our revenue is generated from the automotive business. We are also India’s no 1 semiconductor supplier in the non-memory space and rank 4th worldwide. This is testimony of our success and focus in the India market.

Do you have focus on security technologies?

Security is a race in the era of Digital India where concepts like internet of things (IoT) and smart cities are gaining momentum. It is very critical to secure the connected solutions you are using and designing. Identity theft is at an all-time high. Data privacy concerns are arising on pace with the growth of connected devices. And newly-connected command and control systems present attractive targets for hackers. Keeping that in mind, we address most of the needs from low cost ICs for high volume supply chain management to next generation computing platform for multi-application smart cards. We have applications for certification, identification, NFC, RFID and so on. We have a decades-long investment and expertise in security so we understand its importance and application in the coming digital era.

How do you see the future of driverless cars and the present roadblock?

Today with technology developing at such rapid speed, we can see science fiction shaping into reality, driverless car being one of it. Major players like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Nissan, Delphi and Nissan have been working on the technology for the past half a decade or so. Recently, nuTonomy the first driverless taxi was launched in Singapore.

The automotive sector overall believes that driverless cars are the future and will hit the roads by 2020. However, there is limitation to this technology as the latest prototype has not been tested in heavy rain or snow due to safety concerns. These cars rely primarily on pre-programmed route data, they do not obey temporary traffic lights and, in some situations, revert to a slower “extra cautious” mode in complex unmapped intersections.

The vehicle has difficulty identifying when objects, such as trash and light debris, are harmless, causing the vehicle to veer unnecessarily. Additionally, the LIDAR technology cannot spot some potholes or discern when humans, such as a police officer, are signaling the car to stop. The present day infrastructure also acts as a roadblock, technology is developing at a very fast pace compare to the adaptability of it. With the growing concerns of road safety and innovation of technology, there is a boom in the automotive sector and in future of driverless cars. However, making this technology glitch free and smooth will require few more years of testing.

Do you see any impact on the driverless cars of Tesla’s ‘autopilot’ mode failure?

We see Tesla’s autopilot mode more of a start than failure, as any new technology takes time to reach a level of perfection paving path for the future development. Very recently, nuTonomy first driverless taxi was launched in Singapore which is being running successfully. According to BCG Analysis, by 2035 almost 25% of the market will be autonomous with 9.8% fully autonomous. The future for autonomous vehicle is here and we have seen the shift in the market for the same. People are welcoming the change, we have seen quite an excitement in the industry from both manufactures and consumers’ side.

What is NXP’ role in driverless cars?

We are working extensively on the driverless cars. Transforming the car from a simple mode of transport into a mobile information hub, our robust in-vehicle networking and secure interfaces connect vehicles to each other and the outside world. Our systems capture data, process it and share control with drivers in critical situations. Our recognized strengths are in car access, broadcast reception, automotive microcontrollers and in-vehicle networks. These technologies are complemented by a growing portfolio of vision, radar and sensor fusion processors, telematics, 802.11p and NFC solutions.

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