Tier one auto industry supplier Bosch is investing heavily in where the market is headed, with a newly-announced $1.1 billion facility that will produce semiconductors uses in self-driving cars, smart homes and smart city infrastructure. The new Dresden-based chip fab is set to start producing silicon commercially in 2021, and construction should wrap up in 2019.
The greatly expanded chip manufacturing capacity that this will afford Bosch is seen by the company as a key ingredient in helping them stay in their key supply position as automakers continue to shift focus to connected services and mobility platforms. Bosch is no novice when it comes to chipmaking, however; the company has supplied chips for cars, as well as more recent devices like smartphones, for over 40 years according to Bloomberg.
The new plant will also supply chips that provide more traditional functionality to cars, including those that trigger airbag deployment and control instrument panel readings, as well as in-car cellular connectivity.
Intel is also attempting to position itself as a key chip supplier in the world of autonomous vehicles, as is Qualcomm (aided by its purchase of NXP, though that’s currently being investigated by the EU prior to finalization). Bosch has been operating in this field for a long time, but the autonomous market is different, so it’ll be very interesting to see whether those coming from the computing side or those on the automotive end of the spectrum end up claiming a more dominant position in the market.