"Those challenges are too massive for any single company to handle technically or from a business perspective," said Geenen. "We're talking about billion-dollar investments in new factories and retrofits while the technology is still immature."
Some R&D managers earlier had called for a unified industry road map as early as April 2005, when drive makers were shipping the first products to use perpendicular recording.
Deciding which of the two technologies comes first will be the first order of business for the new group. "We will launch a road-mapping exercise for disk drives which has never been done here in U.S.," Geenen said.
Once a road map is set, the group will spawn research projects, working in tandem with universities. "We're talking multiple millions of dollars for some of these research projects," said Geenen.
The new effort is open to all members of IDEMA, which currently has more than 200 members. Terms of membership will be made public in September.
The group has yet to finalize its name. It has already been approached by the SCSI Trade Association about its use of the STA acronym.
Separately, IDEMA aims to ramp up a new effort to set standards for solid-state drives. Several years ago, IDEMA opened its doors to flash drive members as drive makers were making plans to add flash drives to their product lineups.
In a meeting this week, IDEMA members will take the first crack at what sorts of flash drive standards they will attempt to set, Geenen said.