Mixed signal devices are the fastest-growing segment of the $2.4 billion automotive application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) market, according to a report, “Automotive ASIC Competitive Environment,” from Strategy Analytics.
Simon Schofield, senior analyst, Automotive Electronics Service, said that niche and major semiconductor players alike are finding success with automotive demand. Application-optimized ASICs include some chips that are purely analog, others that are purely digital, and mixed devices that incorporate analog and digital circuitry. Designers deploy ASICs to optimize cost, performance, and/or time-to-market in specialized functions beyond the reach of catalog ICs and automotive application-specific standard products (ASSPs). Strategy Analytics predicts that demand for ASICs will continue to be driven by mixed signal applications as electronic control is increasingly dispersed around the vehicle, with growth in the use of networks and smart sensors.
"Mixed signal ASIC technology provides greater opportunity for electronics integration, increasing design efficiency for the automotive systems manufacturers. Thus, feature-rich designs can be applied to the increasingly electrified applications with lower cost and improved reliability," Schofield suggested. "Very high-density digital ASICs are emerging that will free designers from the constraints of deploying catalog microprocessors, permitting them to create their own dedicated designs, honed to individual applications."
Strategy Analytics also found that the stringent and often specialized requirements of automotive electronic controls is enabling small, niche players, such as Austriamicrosystems, Dialog and Elmos, to thrive alongside the major semiconductor vendors in the automotive ASIC sector.