Automotive innovations in semiconductors
By Jeff Barnum, Janay Camp and Cathy Perry Sullivan
The semiconductor industry performed better than expected in 2020 despite the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and is preparing for accelerated growth in 2021 and beyond. The global coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased the demand for communications electronics and fueled the growth of cloud computing to support distance work and learning. Semiconductor manufacturers, many of which are running at full capacity, continue to produce critical chips that go into virtually every electronic device manufactured, including computers, 5G network infrastructure, smartphones, automobiles, television. , home appliances, data networks, medical equipment and more. In fact, this explosive demand is exceeding manufacturing and delivery times in many markets. This unprecedented situation has brought to light the large number of semiconductor chips embedded in automobiles and their importance to basic vehicle operation and functionality. Let’s take a deeper look at this dynamic automotive topic and explore some key innovations, trends and opportunities enabled by the semiconductor industry.
Automotive and consumptionr
Automobiles are an integral part of our life today as the main mode of transportation. Currently, there are over 1.3 billion motor vehicles on the road worldwide, with that number is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2035. Passenger cars account for around 74% of these statistics, while light commercial vehicles and heavy goods vehicles, buses, coaches and minibuses account for the remaining 26%. Automobiles provide us with convenience and functionality – the unique ability to travel independently, usually on demand, where and when we want. We depend on vehicle performance, reliability and safety to lead our professional and personal lifestyles, every day, every week, and we expect years of consistent and reliable performance from the product lifecycle. It is not surprising that reliability and safety are critical decision factors for the consumer when purchasing a vehicle and are also major concerns for car manufacturers to protect their customers.
When it’s time to buy or lease a new automobile, many people turn to the internet to research a plethora of specifications including make, model, style, drivetrain, features, functionality, quality. of the vehicle, reliability, ratings, prices, incentives, performance and reviews. Surveys of consumer behavior towards car buying reveal our practicality: appearance, safety, fuel economy and build quality are all in the top ten list reasons to buy a car. And yet one of the main reasons to make a car buying decision remains reliability, and the vehicle’s ability to maintain the safety of its passengers, other people and the environment while in use. Let’s take a quick, high-level look at the auto industry, how it has transformed over the years, and some of the projections experts have made. Next, we will discuss the key innovations and inflections that determine the critical value of semiconductor device content in automobiles. And finally, we will connect KLA’s role in semiconductor process control to support this evolving industry.
Over the years there has been a huge number of novelties in the automotive industry5,6 including: the Ford Model T (1908), radios (1933), keys (1949), air conditioning (1953), seat belts (1958), power windows (1960s) , anti-lock brakes (1971), digital instrument panel displays (1974), airbags (1974), on-board diagnostics (1994), hybrid vehicles (1997), GPS satellite navigation (2000), advanced vehicle assistance systems driving (ADAS; 2010s) and autonomous driving (now and improving). Today’s evolving automotive market is driven by several key areas including connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving.7,8 People are attracted and eager to have these features and functionality, so let’s take a closer look near this trend.
Hands-free mobile services and in-car navigation are standard in most vehicles today. Improvements continue in the areas of telematics, GPS navigation, remote access, emergency services, collision notification, voice assistance, integrated mobile applications, pop-up displays, 3D mapping and more. Vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity supported by 5G will increase. Gartner, a global technology research company, valued that by the end of 2020 there will be 50 billion IoT devices installed worldwide, many of them in our cars. Connectivity strongly influences vehicle purchasing decisions and may have an even greater impact in the future.
Combined annual sales Battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles first crossed the two million vehicle mark in 2019 and account for 2.5% of all new car sales. Despite the impact of the global pandemic, the electric vehicle market is expected to rebound with continued growth. Deloitte’s global electric vehicle forecast is 29% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) achieved over the next ten years: total electric vehicle sales to rise from 2.5 million in 2020 to 11.2 million in 2025, then to reach 31.1 million by 2030.
There are five levels in the evolution of autonomous driving. Over the past few years, we’ve seen increased adoption of ADAS Level 1, including improved lidar distance detection, lane departure controls, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, and road sensors. improved camera. Automakers are currently producing Level 2 vehicles, and many manufacturers are demonstrating (some) Level 3 functionality. Ultimate Level 5 will not require a driver at all, a vision many are delighted to embrace, once all. interdependent technologies and infrastructures are established, tested and proven. Imagine being driven to your destination, while working on your PC, hosting a video conference, enjoying a meal, or watching a TV show or movie. Is this going to be cool?
Innovations in automotive connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving are largely achieved through the integration of more electronics, powered by a large and growing silicon content. In fact, at the heart of today’s vehicles are thousands of semiconductor chips that serve as the vehicle’s eyes, ears and brain – sensing the environment, making decisions, and controlling actions. Modern automobiles can have 8,000 or more semiconductor chips and over 100 electronic control units, which currently account for over 35% of the total vehicle cost – a number that is expected to increase to 50% by 2030. Gartner reports that the automotive electronics industry will experience the world’s largest semiconductor compound growth rate over the next four years, through 2024, at 9.3%.
There is a simple fact about thousands of chips found in a car: they simply cannot break down. Yet more than half of semiconductor failures on the automotive assembly line today (so-called 0 km failures) are attributed to defect from the semiconductor manufacturing process. And certainly, any failed chip in the field can lead to costly recalls and warranty repairs, damaging the automaker’s brand image, and in the worst-case scenario, result in personal injury or even loss of life. SEMI actively promotes traceability standards throughout the automotive supply chain. Doug Suerich, Product Evangelist at PEER Group and active participant on the SEMI Standards Traceability Committee, said: “It all comes down to a safety issue. We need to be able to collect data throughout the supply chain, so that we can trace the source of a reliability problem, analyze the data and take corrective action on applications where safety is critical. Automotive, medical and aerospace devices must continue to operate for five, ten years, or even more. For the semiconductor industry, this means redefining performance. “
This brings us to KLA, the leaders in process control and performance management, and our critical role in this industry. In 2019, KLA was the first semiconductor equipment company to be accepted as an associate member of the Automotive Electronic Council (AEC), the organization that sets qualification standards for electronic components in the industry. automobile industry. We are delighted to establish a second North American headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where we have expanded our R&D programs with an emphasis on AI, in close proximity to the heart of the American automotive industry. .
The current high demand for semiconductors, due in large part to communications and consumer electronics – which would normally be considered a ‘good problem’ – has caused supply chain problems affecting automotive production, personal computers, household appliances, etc. Many factories are operating at 100% capacity and cannot simply add new wafer starts; new factories and planned expansions cannot solve the problem in the short term. One opportunity to provide more functional (and reliable) chips to automakers is to improve wafer manufacturing and final test throughput where these much-needed chips are made.
Today, KLA’s innovative inspection, metrology, data analysis and matrix screening solutions help automotive integrated circuit manufacturers improve process control methodologies and improve throughput. We help chipmakers implement zero-fault strategies to optimize the reliability of automotive electronics by finding and isolating latent reliability faults online, helping to prevent chips with high failure potential from leaving. factory. Our work with several semiconductor manufacturers and OEM car manufacturers has implemented unique process control and screening strategies that improve chip quality, fabulous output efficiency, reliability, and lower overall costs.
Strap in for this exciting, dynamic and growing auto journey.