This month saw the tragic news of the passing of Julien Happich, former editor in chief of eeNews Europe. Our thoughts and those of colleagues across the industry in Europe and beyond are with his family. 

While STMicroelectronics makes microcontrollers and sensors that are increasingly being used for artificial intelligence in the Internet of Things (AIoT) and predictive maintenance, the company is also using its own technologies to build a digital twin of its 300mm wafer fab in Crolles, France. Phillipe Magarshack described how ST is using the latest technology during the DATE conference this month. Bosch also sees significant growth in the AIoT, in the face of struggles in the automotive industry.

The issues of fabs in general has also come very much to the fore this month as well. While Covid-19 shut down production in the automotive industry, it didn’t hit the overall semiconductor industry. The resulting cancellation of orders and delays in delivering chips for car production have highlighted the strategic value of the industry, with the resulting attention from politicians in Europe and the US. How Europe and the US address this will be an ongoing issue for many months to come.

One of the other key strategic technologies is batteries, and the founder of UK startup BritishVolt is looking now at sites in Italy to build a battery Gigafactory called ItalVolt.

While it has been struggling with the technologies of today, Europe has been developing key technologies for the future, and some of these projects are now emerging, particularly in quantum computing. Chip maker Infineon Technologies in particular is heavily involved in several projects to build a quantum processor.  

Then we also saw one of Europe’s major chip designers, Dialog Semiconductor, in a bid to be bought by Renesas Electronics in Japan.

And on consolidation of a different kind, the European-focussed SOI Consortium that brings together companies working on silicon-on-insulator technologies has moved into the global SEMI organisation. We will see much more of them in the coming months as the semiconductor industry continues to dominate the headlines.

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