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Automotive electronics in general and
autonomous vehicles in particular represent enormous potential for the EDA
market, but not in the ways you might be thinking. That was the consensus of a
panel of experts who spoke at Cadence on July 16.
Venture capitalist Jim Hogan, Frank
Schirrmeister, group director,
Cadence product marketing, and Ken
Potts, Cadence group director for strategic planning, spent a fast-paced hour walking through the rationale for the growth of autonomous vehicles in the coming years—as well as the challenges and opportunities.
But they cautioned that for EDA companies in
general and Cadence specifically to exploit the growth in design, we must think differently
about the opportunity.
is going to be great for us but we've got to think beyond ICs," Potts
Drivers for New Driving
benefits will smarter and autonomous vehicles bring?
sounds like a scenic drive down profitability lane in the coming years, but, as
with most things, it's not that easy.
a huge increase in development challenges, especially in software," Hogan,
founding partner with Vista Ventures and a Cadence co-founder, said. This
requires multiple integration across systems and partners and "that's
going to be tough," he added.
the cause is the fact that electronics represents the majority of a car's BOM
cost today—and has since it overtook the cost of metal 20 years ago, Hogan
In addition, there's an established but
expanding ecosystem for development. Consider all the research labs from
Detroit automakers that have sprung up in Silicon Valley in recent years, he
Also helping the cause is the explosion of software
complexity. Lines of code are forecast to increase around 10 percent by 2020
for both smart phones and automobiles, yet the code gap is widening between the
two. Forecasts suggest the average car will have 35 million lines of code in
six years compared with about 25 million for smart phones. That gap will be
roughly double what it was in 2010, according to automotive-industry figures
"There's a huge
productivity issue: They can't create enough lines of code. So we have to
figure out automated ways to do that. So we, meaning EDA, understand that sort
of thing. We built compilers for a long time. We'll see the sort of EDA tricks
we used on semiconductors to build code."
One of the
key opportunities for EDA vendors will revolve around safety and security
within automotive electronics systems and specifically autonomous vehicles.
"The first time something visible happens that's
tied back to that system, all hell is going to break lose," Potts said.
"For me, it's the applications which really
give enough value to the customer that they're willing to deal with the
security aspects. And to the degree the safety and security aspects are solved,
they will drive this first."
referenced this month's recall in Japan, involving 175,000 vehicles said
to be affected by a software glitch in the engine control unit causing
unintended acceleration. These types of issues will be
solved from the systems level and represent an enormous opportunity for
verification, he added.
agree there need to be (regulations) but 170,000 cars multiplied by whatever
cost, that's a budget that will drive these safety aspects," he said.
Hogan added, "To the extent automotive guys do this on their own, they're
the opportunity, potential, and challenges are plain, but approaching the
market requires a new way of thinking, panelists agreed. The automotive end
market is estimated at $2 trillion, of which semiconductor sales represent $26 billion, with single-digit growth ahead of
it, Potts said. EDA's share is even smaller of course: Automakers spend $300
million on all EDA tools to get those products to market, Potts said, adding
they spend another $1.7 billion on design-productivity tools.
interesting not because they spend $26 billion on semiconductors. They—over the space of the
last 10 years—have gone from a technology laggard to a technology leader."
the real opportunity for EDA is embracing a bigger piece of the pie—solving a
bigger problem within the automotive electronics market.
about verifying ICs anymore; it's about verifying these systems," Potts said.
"Who is the only industry that even has a clue to go about doing that? It's
integration—all these things EDA does. This is ripe for us to exploit."
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