Renesas aims its chip-making business at self-driving cars

Like other chipmakers, Japan’s Renesas is putting focus on an emerging industry: autonomous cars. The Tokyo-based company announced the R-Car Consortium at a trade fair in the city this week, highlighting its efforts to bring together engineers and researchers from Japan, the U.S., Europe, China and South Korean companies and academic institutions. The goal of the collaboration is to further autonomous driving technology, and it’s already resulted in a fully autonomous demonstration vehicle created by Renesas.

The company is touting its automotive-grade chips as its biggest strength, which will help autonomous vehicles work in all driving conditions, and do so over time. The focus the company has placed on autonomy also extends to cybersecurity concerns, according to Renesas President Bunsei Kure, as reported by Nikkei. To concentrate more fully on the growing opportunity, Renesas has reconfigured its business, allocating resources previously used in areas including video game consoles and smartphones towards autonomous driving tech.

Renesas is pursuing a number of vehicle-related technologies, including a new radar tech to be used in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) with ADI, as well as a new chip for use in forward-facing cameras designed for both autonomous vehicles and ADAS systems. The chip-maker is hardly alone in seeking to stake out its claim in the autonomous driving space: Qualcomm acquired automotive silicon powerhouse NXP, and Intel is in the process of acquiring Israeli sensor and software company Mobileye.