Volkswagen’s software arm, Cariad, is beefing up its U.S. technology center and they recently hired semiconductor specialist Scott Runner, the new CEO of the new company.
The appointment of Runner, who has a 30-year career building hardware and semiconductor teams at companies like Qualcomm, marks a push by Cariad and VW to build stronger semiconductor capabilities in the United States.
Cariad also recently hired top semiconductor experts from Tesla and Apple, who have joined the Santa Clara office, according to people familiar with the matter. A global shortage of semiconductors has hit the auto industry hard, so it makes sense that Cariad, as well as VW, would want to secure their supply at a more reasonable price. Electric cars use more chips than gasoline-powered cars, and most of today’s new electric cars — including Volkswagen’s ID.4 — also promise self-driving features and high-tech infotainment systems that require high-performance computing.
Klaus Hofmockel, senior vice president of Cariad, told TechCrunch: “The reason we are involved in semiconductor specification and development is to ensure the performance of our platform, the security of the supply chain, and greater cost efficiency across the group.” According to Hofmockel, about 250 employees already work for Cariad in the U.S., and the company will continue to build on its in-house expertise in semiconductor development, testing and analysis.
“Ultimately, our goal is to co-create and design future automotive chips on an equal footing with semiconductor manufacturers,” he said. Cariad also hopes to become part of the semiconductor value chain by establishing long-term partnerships within the industry. The company has partnered with Qualcomm and ST Microelectronics to provide a system-on-chip for Cariad’s software platform, which is designed to enable assisted and autonomous driving functions.
“A key part of these partnerships is the mutual transfer of knowledge,” Hofmockel said. “As an automotive company, we have special requirements for the safety, quality and robustness of our chips. For example, the chip must be able to operate in the car for more than 100,000 hours, and the control unit must always be on – in extreme cases, up to 15 hours. years. Working closely with our partners, we can ensure that these requirements are communicated and met.”
According to Hofmockel, Cariad’s new semiconductor group will also focus on standardizing low-computing, as well as facilitating co-design for high performance. Low computing helps integrate various electronic components and systems into vehicles—from engine control and window opening to connectivity and driver assistance systems—in a way that minimizes weight, size and power consumption, as well as cost. High-performance computing is critical to acquiring data from advanced sensors and powering algorithms that support functions such as autonomous driving and predictive maintenance.
“In the medium to long term, our aim is to equip our vehicles with high-performance computers designed according to our own requirements,” says Hofmockel. “This will enable us to offer our customers the best possible performance across all Volkswagen Group brands.”
Post time: May-08-2023