Electronica: Renesas invests big in driverless cars

Renesas and Intersil are an almost perfect strategic fit, says Renesas CEO Bunsei Kure.

“Only 6% of Intersil’s sales are in Japan, Intersil has nothing in logic while 75% of Renesas’ business is in logic, and Renesas is strong in automotive while Intersil is strong in industrial,” says Kure.

Owning a US analogue company is a departure for Renesas. The US analogue companies put great store in motivating their designers. Does Renesas’ structure allow that?

“We will keep the compensation structure,” replied Kure, “we want to grow and growth depends on talent. I’m not sure if we can get good analogue engineers in the market. My intention is to keep them and motivate them and give them opportunities to grow. We will provide them with better career opportunities.”

As one of the world’s top suppliers of automotive ICs, Renesas is heavily into autonomous car development.

Kure said that one third of his development budget for automotive ICs is going into autonomous driving research.

“Embedded AI will be very key,” said Kure,”my personal opinion is that it will first come in Smart Cities with dedicated tracks for driverless cars. In the Smart City you won’t allow any driven cars. You will park and use your credit card to hire an autonomous vehicle which will run along dedicated tracks.

One advantage of this is that there will be no need for precise digital road mapping and another advantage is that, as Kure puts it “when you’re hit on the train track it’s your fault not the train’s fault.”

This neatly removes two big impediments to autonomous cars – the vast expense of mapping and pedestrians getting in the way of them.

However Kure is relaxed about whichever way people decide to implement autonomous driving.
“Semiconductors,” he says, “will be used in any case.”

On automotive, Renesas was showing off the Artega Scalo, an all-electrical sports car, on its stand. See below.

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