Graphics processing instrumental in automotive semiconductor growth

Dedicated GPUs are forecast to become increasingly prevalent in automotive instrument clusters and infotainment systems, according to IMS Research.


Dedicated graphics processing units (GPUs) are forecast to become increasingly prevalent in automotive instrument clusters and infotainment systems according to IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc. This uptake of technology and the associated silicon will drive semiconductor revenue growth, with the combined instrument cluster and infotainment semiconductor market reaching an estimated $8 billion by 2018, according to the leading automotive semiconductor study, The World Market for Semiconductors in OEM Automotive Electronic Systems – 2012 Edition.

There is a trend towards more liquid crystal display (LCD) screens for infotainment head units and purely digital instrument clusters as production costs decrease. Some vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are choosing dedicated GPUs to display complex images like Google Earth Live or 3D representations of the vehicle on the instrument cluster. Around the GPU, there will be other silicon including 32-bit microcontrollers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), etc.

Automotive Infortainment and Instrumentation Semiconductor Market. Source: IMS Research

NVIDIA’s Tegra platform is already found in some premium vehicles, to provide dedicated graphics processing. “The Tegra platform is a complete SoC which uses an embedded ARM CPU with a GeForce GPU for audio, video and imaging; making it a whole multimedia centre,” explains IMS Research automotive market analyst, Ben Scott.

Consumer habits and opinions are also driving this trend. “There is a huge demand for vehicle manufacturers to recreate the experiences that consumers receive from their phones. This fast multimedia experience with interactivity and apps is something that requires significant processor horsepower,” adds Scott.

These types of GPUs are expected to move into C-segment vehicles within the next five years, but are quite costly to the OEM. However, these highly powerful SoCs can also be used for driver assistance, negating the need for a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), for example, which saves cost.

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Salary survey: How much are you worth?; Dedicated outdoor air systems; Energy models and lighting
Fire, life safety in schools; Fire protection codes; Detection, suppression, and notification; 2015 Commissioning Giants; Emergency and standby power in hospitals
HVAC and building envelope: Efficient, effective systems; Designing fire sprinkler systems; Wireless controls in buildings; 2015 Product of the Year winners
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Implementing microgrids: Controlling campus power generation; Understanding cogeneration systems; Evaluating UPS system efficiency; Driving data center PUE, efficiency
Optimizing genset sizing; How the Internet of Things affects the data center; Increasing transformer efficiency; Standby vs. emergency power in mission critical facilities
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.