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How Semiconductors will Power the Data-Driven Car in Next 30 Years?

Rajesh GuptaA leading global semiconductor player, Micron Technology has recently completed 30 years in the Automotive Industry. Today, Micron is one of the top memory suppliers in the industry globally, with over 40% global market shares. Through various ecosystem collaborations, Micron has established a view of how semiconductors will fuel the data-driven car today and for the next 30 years. Whether the focus is on safety, security, performance, quality, longevity, innovation or customer support, Micron’s robust and extensive portfolio of innovative, auto-qualified DRAM-, NAND- and NOR-based solutions are addressing today’s and tomorrow’s requirements. While talking with Nitisha from BISinfotech; Rajesh Gupta, Director, Country Manager-India Sales, Micron has highlighted the role of semiconductor in automobile industry and its ahead strategies.

Congratulations on completing 30 years in the automotive industry! Kindly elaborate on the changes and developments you have seen so far in this industry?

Today, cars do more than just go fast. They store and process massive amounts of data which must be processed quickly. Car manufacturers are re-architecting traditional discrete compute within various automotive systems towards more powerful, integrated computing that enables better control of new capabilities including auto safety systems and enhanced in-vehicle infotainment while paving a path towards full ADAS implementation.  This move requires low latency data management to drive automotive analytics, improved thermal tolerances, extended product lifespan, and increased data capacity to manage data flowing from growing numbers of computers and sensors within the car. Micron automotive memory is the solution to address today’s and tomorrow’s extreme memory requirements.

We recognize the partnerships and collaboration we have had here as we celebrate Micron’s 30 years in the automobile. Our memory and storage solutions have transformed the car from transportation to a center of computing capable of self-driving starting with a qualification of 16-Kbit EEPROM for a powertrain. The automotive industry has shifted its emphasis from horsepower to brainpower. The amount of data generated and the complexity of software in automobiles has grown exponentially; a high-end luxury vehicle today contains approximately 100 million lines of code. As the technology moves toward fully autonomous vehicles, this figure is projected to grow to more than 300 million lines.

Connected vehicles can generate up to 25GB of data per hour. Depending on the vehicle’s architectural design, advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) and autonomous vehicle (AV) sensors can generate anywhere from 4TB to 20TB per day. The amount of memory and storage required to power these data-intensive systems has resulted in a $2.5 billion automotive memory industry, making it one of the semiconductor market’s fastest-growing sections.

What will be your latest project for the safety of automotive applications?

The average vehicle nowadays has 4GB of DRAM and 256GB of storage. However, the realization of this perspective involves massive data processing from a wide range of sensors used for the detection, recognition, monitoring, and prediction of the actions of objects along the path.

Ensuring the security and dependability of hardware and software has necessitated a keen focus on both security and functional safety. This complex, high-performance wheel calculation platform requires the utmost reliability and undergoes a complete overhaul of the underlying vehicle architecture. We’re currently observing the transition from distributed to centralized/zonal designs, which will bring together infotainment, ADAS, and other technologies into a unified design.

In these increasingly sophisticated embedded software platforms, achieving the required functional safety (FuSa) standards necessitates a greater focus on the influence and role of memory Meeting these FuSa levels will necessitate the use of ISO 26262-evaluated solutions for both traditional systems on chips (SoCs) and memory. All of this, of course, is based on a mindset that wants to reach and deliver a quality level of zero defects.

Please share the future marketing strategy of Micron technology and how are you planning to enhance market conditions in the automotive industry?

Micron has had the privilege of being at the forefront of the automobile industry’s evolution for the past few decades. Consistent focus, investment, and collaboration helped the company become the top memory supplier to the automotive industry, with over 40% global market share. We’ve developed a vision for how semiconductors will power the data-driven car now and in the next 30 years as a result of our tight collaboration. Micron’s innovative technology is executed with high quality, low cost, and a shorter time to scale thanks to an efficient design cycle.

We are at the forefront of the auto industry, prepared to be measured not by horsepower or acceleration, but by computing performance and in-vehicle experience, with many trillions of kilometers covered on Micron memory.

We are committed to maintaining the automotive memory leaders for the next 30 years, delivering the industry’s leading portfolio of innovative, auto-qualified DRAM-, NAND-, and NOR-based solutions addressing today’s and tomorrow’s requirements, whether the focus is on safety, security, performance, quality, longevity, innovation, or customer support.

We are pleased to be the first company to mass-produce DRAM in the 1znm class and to have the world’s smallest die size NAND in production. We are the first business in the world to launch our 2nd generation QLC NAND in bulk, making it the most cost-effective NAND ever supplied. We also delivered the world’s first 176-Layer NAND, which represents a significant advancement in flash memory performance and density.

The situation of ADAS and autonomous vehicles in today’s era. Explain.

In the next couple of years, the upgraded in-cabin experience and advanced driver-assistance (ADAS) systems will be widely used, although a pause in the transition to completely autonomous vehicles is expected. COVID has slowed down the aggressive adoption of autonomous vehicles that we might otherwise see; people are wary about public transit and ride sharing.

Enriched features such as better connectivity, larger digital displays, and full digitalization of the cabin will become more prevalent, and these will serve as important purchasing differentiators for consumers. Adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping/changing, driver monitoring systems, and C-V2X vehicle-to-vehicle communications will all see increased focus (in some cases, due to governmental mandates) — driving growth in adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping/changing, driver monitoring systems, and C-V2X vehicle-to-vehicle communications. The market for these technologies will be quite robust in 2021. These approaches will work together to assist the industry get toward full autonomy in the long run. We anticipate that autonomous vehicles will initially join the enterprise, in sectors such as robo-taxis via Mobility-as-a-Service providers, as well as haulage and delivery solutions – industries that can afford the price of fully autonomous vehicles and gain enough ROI to justify the economics.

Although the full potential of autonomous factories has yet to be realized, a trend toward micro-factories is expected to intensify in 2021. The COVID-19 epidemic has put unprecedented strain on production and the supply chain. Micro-factories will be constructed on the foundation of industrial IoT (IIoT) and automation, allowing them to be nimbler and more responsive to demand closer to the source. Edge-to-cloud solutions will be in high demand to manage, connect, and secure smart devices, factories, and infrastructure as a result of this intelligence-at-the-edge trend.

Any key announcements we can expect from Micron in the coming months?

Micron’s FQ3 results demonstrate the strength of our business, and we expect to achieve continued strong results in the future. Demand for memory and storage is solid across market segments, and industry trends like artificial intelligence, edge computing and 5G continue to create new opportunities for Micron.

Our team is building on our technology leadership to deliver bold new solutions that offer valuable differentiation for our customers. Micron’s business is healthier and more robust than ever, and we are energized to seize the opportunities ahead at a truly exciting time in the semiconductor industry. We are also leveraging our success to deliver results for all our stakeholders.

In April, we released our sixth annual sustainability report, highlighting progress toward our environmental, social and governance goals. We are pleased to report that we are on track to achieve the environmental and sustainability goals we set last year, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. In fact, our ESG risk scores have improved to the top 10% of the semiconductor industry according to the third-party rating agency Sustainalytics. We are also making good progress on achieving 100% renewable energy consumption in the U.S. by the end of 2025.

In CY21, we continue to focus on emissions abatement, transition to renewable sources, water restoration and increased efforts to reduce, reuse or recycle waste. We will pursue these goals with the same focus with which we have created sustained momentum in the business, and we look forward to providing updates on our progress in future.

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Nitisha Dubey

I am a Journalist with a post graduate degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. I love reading non-fiction books, exploring different destinations and varieties of cuisines. Biographies and historical movies are few favourites.

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