Infineon's automotive division president, Peter Schiefer, says the German chipmaker expects to gain from the move to add radar sensors and camera modules to cars to give them so-called Level 2-plus autonomy. He discussed this and more with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Olive Keogh.
What are your main challenges?
Preparing the technologies and manufacturing capacity required for electrified, automated, secure connected driving. Currently, the automotive market is weak and also hard to predict due to general economic and political uncertainty. Therefore, the biggest challenge is predicting the market cycle and adjusting to it. The good news for us is that even if the number of cars sold stagnates, the electronic content will continue to increase because there are several structural growth drivers. The biggest of these are electrification and automated cars.
Who are Infineon's customers?
Typically, they are Tier 1 companies developing the electronics systems sold to automakers. But we often have the opportunity to talk directly with automakers so that we understand future technology trends very early on.
What is the value of the semiconductor content in the average family car?
About $355 (322 euros). This excludes the combustion engine. If you include a classical combustion engine this adds another $62. If it's a so-called mild hybrid you add another $114, which puts the semiconductor value up to about $530. In a full hybrid or plug-in hybrid, with their bigger electric motors, the semiconductor content is much higher, a total of $785. It is about $775 for a battery-electric car.
How widespread are Infineon technologies in hybrid and full-electric cars?
We are the market leader in electrifying cars. In 2018, 15 out of the top 20 biggest selling plug-in hybrid and electric cars used our power technology and products. In automated driving, we are very strong in radar technology and two out of three 77 GHz (gigahertz) radar sensor chips sold come from Infineon.