Volkswagen plans own chip development

Volkswagen plans own chip development

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The supply bottlenecks for chips are certainly only one reason why VW wants to acquire its own competence in chip design. The aim is to develop customised high-performance processors and to develop its own semiconductor IP and patents. This emerges from a report in the German business newspaper “Handelsblatt“. The newspaper quotes unnamed participants in several internal VW meetings at board level.

Volkswagen already cooperates with manufacturers of semiconductor IP; the most important examples are Nvidia and Mobileye. But the growing amounts of data from the sensors (radar, cameras, lidar) overtax today’s processors. That is why Volkswagen wants to develop its own customised processors, the unnamed VW top manager is quoted as saying. In doing so, the vehicle manufacturer wants to acquire know-how through the aforementioned cooperations, which will flow into its own IP; in addition, the company wants to hire around 200 chip design experts.

According to the report, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess aims to catch up with Tesla in terms of digitalisation in the medium term. Moreover, Diess – like many other insiders in the automotive industry – expects Apple to enter the automotive market “sooner or later”. This would almost certainly make Apple a tough competitor for the Lower Saxony carmaker.

The driving force for the development of own processor IPs lies not only in the automation of driving, but also around future infotainment landscapes: In the self-driving cars of the future, the occupants will have time and can deal with things other than controlling the car. Volkswagen – like most other vehicle manufacturers – sees the download of corresponding apps as the basis for new business models. Apple is the role model here as well, according to the Handelsblatt report.

Volkswagen plans to invest €27 billion (out of a total investment budget of €150 billion) in digitalisation by 2025; among other things, the money will flow into VW’s own software company, which was recently renamed Cariad. Its most important task for the time being is the development of the group-specific operating system VW.OS. The VW group’s goal is to develop 60 % of the vehicle software itself.

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