Globalfoundries Speaks Car Talk

Article By : Junko Yoshida, EE Times

Globalfoundries' executive told EE Times that his company is picking "new customers in the automotive space," as carmakers and Tier Ones scramble to "figure out software/hardware partitioning and interfaces" in the highly automated electric vehicles.

MADISON, Wis. — Engineers in Silicon Valley are flocking to Munich this week, but not necessarily to attend Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference which opened Tuesday. Globalfoundries is hosting a “rival” — or perhaps a follow-up — powwow, called the Globalfoundries Technology Conference (GTC), later this week in the capital of German automotive industry.

Clearly, both Nvidia and Globalfoundries are gunning for mindshare among German automotive engineers. The world’s second largest foundry is unveiling “AutoPro,” the company’s new automotive platform to offer carmakers a full range of technologies and manufacturing services.

Gregg Bartlett, senior vice president of the CMOS Business Unit at Globalfoundries, told EE Times that his company is picking “new customers in the automotive space,” as carmakers and Tier Ones scramble to “figure out software/hardware partitioning and interfaces” in the Wild West of connected, highly automated electric vehicles.  

The new customers appear to include Audi. Audi’s head of semiconductor strategy, Berthold Hellenthal, provided a quote in Globalfoundries’ press release, saying: “To deliver an unmatched mobility experience the need for strong semiconductor manufacturing partners is greater than ever. The GF Automotive portfolio and program, focused on providing innovative technologies and manufacturing capabilities combined with an automotive mindset, is important for the automotive industry. It is an essential program to deliver our next generation car electronics faster and reliable.”

But why skip Tier Ones and SoC vendors? When car OEMs come directly to foundries such as Globalfoundries, this is not business as usual.  Bartlett said, “Yes. That’s why we find it a really exciting time.”

Asked what exactly carmakers expect from Globalfoundries, Bartlett said, “They are looking for silicon solutions, automotive-qualified standards they must meet, and if they can get full turnkey ASICs designed for their systems.”

Provided by the AutoPro service package are a gamut of technology offerings that range from silicon germanium (SiGe) and FD-SOI to CMOS and advanced FinFET nodes, in addition to a range of ASIC design services, packaging and IP.

Bartlett explained, “We think we are well positioned to offer a level of integrations in silicon technologies and RF performance … with a blitz of solutions for radar, lidar, computer vision, high-voltage capabilities for power trains with a path to supporting 48 volts, and all the way to ADAS solutions at 7nm FinFET.”

Evolving business for connected intelligence (Source: Globalfoundries)

Evolving business for connected intelligence (Source: Globalfoundries)

Globalfoundries also takes pride in the fact that AutoPro service package is built on the company’s proven quality and operational controls. “We have infrastructure to support our customers to meet strict automotive quality requirements defined in the ISO, International Automotive Task Force (IATF), Automotive Electronics Council (AEC), and VDA (German) standards,” he added. “We can assess what our customers need and we can provide solutions.”

But isn’t this the sort of automotive platform that other foundries also offer?

Next pate: System-level architects


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