While “Intel Inside” has been the standard for PCs and other computing products, the chip giant has lagged lesser-known but more dominant automotive processor suppliers. Intel is hoping that will change with its new Atom E3900 chip, which comes in dual-core and quad-core configurations and is up to 1.7 times faster at computing and 2.9 times faster at graphics tasks
“Intel is really strong in other domains, such as PCs, consumer, and industrial,” said Luca De Ambroggi, principal analyst of automotive semiconductors with IHS Markit, in a recent interview. “But they only started to strongly invest in automotive I would say about four years ago. The way I interpreted this latest Intel announcement is that it’s mainly targeting the cockpit and dashboard, but they are clearly talking about [autonomous driving] as well,” he added.
And while Intel trails other chipmakers in automotive, Caviasca told me in a recent phone interview that since 2008 there’s been an Intel A3800 chip inside 30 different vehicles currently on the road. And he added that the company has secured $1 billion in design wins with its “software defined cockpit” platform.
Caviasca also noted that Intel recently announced partnerships with BMW and Mobileye to build a self-driving platform, and that suppliers like Delphi and Neusoft will use the E3900 in new vehicles. He also added that the E3900 chip will enable “machine learning and deep learning that can be transferred into the car.”
Caviasca said that the new chip will be available in Q1 of 2017 and Intel’s automotive “customers have samples.” But he added that it could take up to two years and it “will be more like Q1 of 2018” before the new chip is available in vehicles, given automakers’ extended product cycles.
In the meantime, the competition in the market just got tougher with the announcement last week that Intel rival Qualcomm is acquiring leading automotive chip supplier NXP, which itself swallowed up former competitor Freescale.
Originally published by Forbes.com