Yole recently published two reports on “Sensors for Autonomous Vehicle” and, “Imaging Technology for Automotive” which are fully in line with core focus of the technology community as it gather in its yearly event in Las Vegas, USA. The most important trend we got back from this year CES is about Automated Driving. Some of the most renowned speakers in the industry have had their keynotes and the vision of the world of Autonomous Driving (AD) is now transformed for good.
Mr Carlos Ghosn Chairman of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance announced a prediction of 25% “hands off” capable vehicles (Level 3) by 2030. Another keynote speaker was Mr Amnon Shashua, Co-founder, CTO and Chairman of Mobileye. Despite the humongous success Mobileye has achieved so far, we had the bizarre feeling that 2016 had completely transformed the company ecosystem and business model. The deceptive cooperation with Tesla, and Volkswagen “dieselgate” has had a strong PR impact while probably little direct consequences revenue wise for Mobileye. In the meantime Nvidia has transformed into a credible competitor becoming the sole supplier for Tesla and now forging an alliance with Automotive Tier one behemoth Bosch. There is truly a great story behind CES 2017 and we finally get the global picture of the years to come for Autonomous Driving (AD).
First, let’s acknowledge that Mobileye has set the standard of video based ADAS and in particular Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). The main benefactors among car manufacturers have initially been Tesla, Volvo, Ford, Mazda, GM, Renault and world number one automaker Volkswagen. There was initially big reluctance from the big Tier one companies to partner with Mobileye since its approach was relatively closed (think Apple approach). However the robustness of its technology did translate into the large success we know for Mobileye itself but also for companies such as TRW, Autoliv, Magna and more recently Valeo and Delphi. Unfortunately TRW was purchased by ZF this year which probably pushed Mobileye to rather partner with Delphi. From Amnon Shashua keynote at CES 2017 we can see that Mobileye is not any more focusing on the sensing side (camera and hardware) which will be the part handled by Tier ones. Mobileye wish to become the platform for the real time mapping part in cooperation with the mapping companies (Here, Zenrin, TomTom, Google, Baidu…) while the driving part itself will be handled by car manufacturers and ECU providers such as Intel who incidentally just took a 15% participation in Here. As a true innovator Mobileye has the huge task to build Technology, Market and Ecosystem at the same time and this is always too slow for short term investors.
On the other side of the ring Jen-Hsun Huang the CEO of Nvidia did make a big splash with its numerous partnership announcements. Nvidia is financially ten time bigger than Mobileye and by partnering with Bosch, world number one automotive supplier, this could have look like David and Goliath. Now we can better understand the logic behind Mobileye and Intel partnership, this time a company 100 time larger than Mobileye. Stakes are huge and we are no more in a world of unicorns, this is more looking like a herds of bulls ready for Autonomous Driving (AD) stampede. Yes, there is many other large players at play, such as ZF now world number 3 automotive supplier, who seems to play on both sides signing with Nvidia while TRW it just acquired is one of the main partner of Mobileye, notably supplying equipment to Tesla. Zenrin the Japanese Map company has also signed with Nvidia while relying on Mobileye to supply the crowdsourced data. Even Audi who is part of the Volkswagen group is clearly saying they will use both Nvidia and Mobileye. Automotive has a long history of multiple sourcing, Nvidia is the necessary second source player the industry was looking for and this will accelerate adoption of autonomous driving (AD) technology.
Now there are other players that did not join any sides, Denso the world second automotive supplier did create its own partnership agreement earlier last year with Toshiba. Hyundai Mobis is probably the fourth player with probable link to a major Korean semiconductor company. Let’s not forget that Samsung recently purchased Harman Kardon one of the largest player in automotive infotainment technology. The largest semiconductor companies are therefore fully engaged now, either on the computing or on the sensing side. Both approaches are expected to be highly profitable journeys as we are only at the beginning of a century yet to be transformed by Artificial Intelligence (AI). For now this is no transhumanism tale from Stanley Kubrick “2001: A Space Odyssey”, but the transformation of our closest relative: our car is becoming a robot.
Pierre Cambou, Activity Leader, Imaging & Sensors, Yole Développement
In 1999 Pierre Cambou joined the imaging industry. He had earned an Engineering degree from Université de Technologie de Compiègne in parallel to a Master of Science from Virginia Tech in 1998. More recently he graduated from Grenoble Ecole de Management’s MBA. Pierre took several positions at Thomson TCS which became Atmel Grenoble in 2001 and e2v Semiconductors in 2006. In 2012 he founded the start-up Vence Innovation (now called Irlynx) in order to bring to market a disruptive Man to Machine interaction technology. He joined Yole Développement, the "More than Moore" market research and strategy consulting company, as Imaging Activity Leader in 2014.
More information here.
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