MADISON, Wis. — NXP Semiconductors is at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week to unveil the company’s new single-chip DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) modem for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication and NXP’s partnership agreement with Germany’s Hella Aglaia to create a “scalable, functionally safe, AI-ready” open vision platform.
For a huge automotive chip company that has avoided the spotlight throughout the current robo-car trend, these moves are a coming-out party. They reveal certain strategic directions for NXP’s V2X and ADAS/Autonomous vision processors.
1. NXP is now offering a new V2X solution supporting DSRC/802.11p that can also be integrated with cellular-V2X in a single telematics control unit.
2. NXP has finally selected a significant partner, Hella Aglaia, for its automotive vision processors. Aglaia’s camera-based vision software will be ported to NXP’s S32 and i.MX auto-grade processors.
3. NXP has pre-announced the company’s next-generation vision processor, which it says will launch in 2018. This is the first time NXP has specifically discussed its plan to support AI for “more complex automated driving functions such as pixel-wise classification, semantic path finding and vehicle localization functions.”
Qualcomm: Elephant in the room
Unclear, though, is how much these new strategies reflect Qualcomm’s anticipated acquisition of NXP.
NXP is not legally permitted to develop or discuss any joint product roadmaps with Qualcomm prior to closing the acquisition.
But considering Qualcomm’s strong support for Cellular-based V2X, it’s no surprise to see NXP shifting to a dual approach. NXP is confident that its new single-chip DSRC/802.11p modem, the SAF5400, will launch the eventual integration of DSRC and LTE in telematics.
V2X roadmap for integration (Source: NXP)
Pointing out new market trends for integrating V2X into Telematics Control Unit (TCU) boxes, Lars Reger, chief technology officer of NXP's Automotive business unit, told us, “Adding our 802.11p chip inside telematics will be no different from adding another WiFi chip to the same telematics box.”
Many TCUs today are based on an architecture similar to that in a smartphone apps processor. Although NXP refrained from naming names, SAF5400, in theory, could be easily integrated into Qualcomm’s Snapdragon.
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