MEMS and Sensors

Intel forms dedicated automotive group for foundry services

18 February 2022

Intel Corp. is forming a dedicated automotive group as part of its Intel Foundry Services (IFS) for automotive chip makers to better develop complete solutions.

The move comes just a few days after the company agreed to acquire pure-play foundry Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 billion. The move is seen as a way for Intel to bolster its automotive semiconductor portfolio offering chips at advanced nodes in its current fabs or with mature technology from Tower’s fab lines.

Intel cited the ongoing chip shortage and the issues with the supply chain as semiconductor demand increases in the sector as one of the reasons for the forming of the automotive group. The automotive market has been hit especially hard by the chip shortage causing many OEMs to revise production plans and revenue forecasts to accommodate the uncertain situation.

Still, Intel forecasts the automotive chip sector will be driven by growth coming from the ongoing transition to electrified models as well as vehicle connectivity and automated features coming online. Revenues are expected to nearly double in the auto chip sector by $115 billion by 2030.

The forming of the automotive group inside IFS will focus on three key areas:

Open Central Compute Architecture — Intel will develop a compute platform that allows automotive OEMs to build next-generation experiences and solutions. This will leverage chiplet-based building blocks and advanced packaging technologies to allow for access to technology nodes, algorithms, software and applications for next-generation vehicles.

Automotive-Grade Foundry Platform — Manufacturing technologies that meet quality requirements for automotive applications and customers. IFS will target both leading-edge nodes and technologies for microcontrollers and other automotive needs as well as advanced packaging for multiple types of automotive chips.

Transition to Advanced Technologies — IFS will offer design services and Intel IP to automakers to transition to advanced process and packaging technologies, moving away from mature processes.

Intel will likely then use Tower as a steppingstone to entice automakers to use mature technology nodes initially and transition to more advanced processes along the way.

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