The collaboration combines NXP’s automotive quality and functional safety expertise with TSMC’s 5nm N5P process technology to create a 5nm automotive capability. This is a signficant jump from NXP’s current 16nm collaboration with TSMC.
The higher density and power efficiency of the 5nm automotive process is aimed at driver assistance and autonomous driving chips. Last month NXP announced it was working with French multi-core processor maker Kalray on such chips for automotive which would need a leading edge process.
TSMC took three years making the 7nm process suitable for general release for automotive designs, and NXP will be looking to stay ahead of competitors with the N5P 5nm automotive process for connected cockpits, high-performance domain controllers, autonomous driving, advanced networking, hybrid propulsion control and integrated chassis management based on its S32 architecture. This gives a 20 percent speed boost or about 40 percent power reduction compared to the 7nm process.
However the costs are a third higher, and potentially even more significant for a 5nm automotive process that requires more functional safety design.
“Modern vehicle architectures need to harmonize software infrastructure across domains to leverage investments, scale deployments and share resources,” said Henri Ardevol, Executive Vice President and GM, Automotive Processing at NXP. “NXP aims to deliver the premier automotive processing platform based on TSMC’s 5nm process, with a consistent architecture across domains and with differentiation in performance, power, and world-class safety and security. Car OEMs need a simpler coordination of advanced functions across control-units, the flexibility to locate and port applications seamlessly, and the certainty of execution in a critical safety and security context. NXP is powerfully positioned to deliver those automotive-specific benefits, now with leading-edge metrics through the TSMC partnership.”
Next: TSMC’s view on 5nm automotive process
“TSMC’s latest collaboration with NXP truly demonstrates how automotive semiconductors have evolved from simple microcontrollers to sophisticated processors on par with chips used in the most demanding high-performance computing systems,” said Dr. Kevin Zhang, Vice President of Business Development at TSMC. “TSMC has enjoyed a long history of strong partnership with NXP, and we are excited to take the automotive platform another step forward into the most advanced technology available in the market and unleash the power of NXP’s innovative products for intelligent automotive applications and more.”
First samples of 5nm automotive devices are expected for NXP’s key customers in 2021.
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