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NXP, Inventec team up for automotive electronics ecosystem in Taiwan

Aaron Lee and Jay Liu, Taipei; Eifeh Strom, DIGITIMES Asia

Credit: DIGITIMES

Automotive IC vendor NXP Semiconductors and ODM Inventec have announced they are teaming up to create an industry ecosystem locally in Taiwan for automotive electronics products.

The ecosystem will target five modules: ultra-wideband smart car access systems, central gateways, vehicle-grade servers, e-cockpits, and vehicle-grade wireless chargers.

Inventec chairman Tom Cho said Inventec will focus on electric controllers to create "Server in Car," turning cars into mobile offices.

Elton Tsang, sales director for Greater China at NXP, noted that cooperation between the two companies has been smooth.

Despite being the world's largest server motherboard maker and the fourth largest notebook ODM, Inventec has had a tough time attracting automotive customers.

Inventec vice president of the automotive electronics R&D center Rai-Jin Li said Taiwan's electronics industry is actually well positioned in the automotive electronics sector; however, Taiwanese manufacturers are not well-known in this field. The cooperation with NXP will help Inventec and other Taiwanese makers gain recognition.

NXP brings to the partnership its vast experience and know-how in the auto market, which will be greatly beneficial due to the complexity of automotive-grade specifications and certifications.

Following the announcement of their cooperation with Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) and now Inventec, the industry is interested to see who NXP will work with next.

Tsang said NXP is discussing many different plans and will definitely continue to expand cooperation and investments in Taiwan. Not only will NXP continue to increase upstream and downstream partnerships, but it will also invest more resources into manufacturing and design, while also expanding capacity and its workforce.

NXP's ultimate goal is to help Taiwan build a competitive automotive ecosystem, said Tsang. With Taiwan's strengths in semiconductors and the ICT industry, Tsang said Taiwan has huge advantages in becoming an important promoter of future automotive electronic technologies.

However, Taiwan needs help when it comes to the safety of automotive electronics, an area in which NXP can help.

Tsang explained that most Taiwanese manufacturers that want to enter the automotive market are new entrants with limited resources. In order to quickly get into the market, companies may sacrifice a bit on safety, which is likely to affect long-term cooperation and company reputation.

Inventec has also invested in vehicle safety and information security. Inventec displayed a concept car at its Taiwan Taoyuan Industrial Park factory, which focused on information security and safety. The car featured ISO 26262 for component-level functional safety, ISO/SAE 21434 for vehicle module-level information security, and ISO 21448 for Safety of the Intended Functionality.

Li pointed out that Inventec's production bases in Taiwan, Shanghai, Chongqing, Mexico, and the Czech Republic have all made considerable progress in applying for automotive-related certifications, including ISO 26262, ISO 21434, ISO 21448, VDA 6.3, and Automotive SPICE.

Inventec's China factories in Shanghai and Chongqing will focus on local customers, while the Mexico factory will service American automakers and the Czech factory European automakers. The Taiwan factory will focus on new product introduction (NPI) and two-wheeled vehicles.

The company is also setting up production lines and is expected to start producing automotive electronic products in 2022. Inventec already has 400 automotive-related R&D engineers, with plans to expand to 600.

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