Connected Car News: Renesas, Wolfspeed, Honda, SCSK, Valeo & Leoni

In connected car news are Renesas, Wolfspeed, Honda, SCSK, Valeo and Leoni.

Renesas & Wolfspeed Agree

Renesas Electronics Corporation (“Renesas”), a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, and Wolfspeed, Inc., the global leader in silicon carbide technology,  announced the execution of a wafer supply agreement and $2 billion (USD) deposit by Renesas to secure a 10 year supply commitment of silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers from Wolfspeed. The supply of high-quality silicon carbide wafers from Wolfspeed will pave the way for Renesas to scale production of silicon carbide power semiconductors starting in 2025. The signing ceremony of the agreement was held at Renesas’ headquarters in Tokyo between Hidetoshi Shibata, President and CEO of Renesas, and Gregg Lowe, President and CEO of Wolfspeed.

The decade-long supply agreement calls for Wolfspeed to provide Renesas with 150mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers scaling in CY2025, reinforcing the companies’ vision for an industry-wide transition from silicon to silicon carbide semiconductor power devices. The agreement also anticipates supplying Renesas with 200mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers after the recently announced John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide (the “JP”) is fully operational.

The need for more efficient power semiconductors, which supply and manage electricity, is dramatically increasing throughout automotive and industrial applications, spurred by the growth of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy. Renesas is moving quickly to address the growing demand for power semiconductors by expanding its in-house manufacturing capacity. The company recently announced the restart of its Kofu Factory to produce IGBTs, and establishment of a silicon carbide production line at its Takasaki Factory.

Compared to conventional silicon power semiconductors, silicon carbide devices enable higher energy efficiency, greater power density and a lower system cost. In an increasingly energy-conscious world, the adoption of silicon carbide is becoming ever more pervasive across multiple high-volume applications spanning EVs, renewable energy and storage, charging infrastructure, industrial power supplies, traction and variable speed drives.

Honda Partners with SCSK

Honda Motor Co., Ltd.  announced that it has reached a basic agreement on a software development partnership with SCSK Corporation (SCSK), a Japan-based IT solution and service provider.

In today’s automobile market, the popularization of electrified, automated and connected vehicles is accelerating, and the strong capability to develop software to accommodate such trends has become indispensable. Moreover, the importance of software development is further increasing, as product development based on the concept of “software-defined mobility,” in which software defines the value of hardware and services, is accelerating toward the realization of new value creation through next-generation mobility products and services.

In light of such automotive technology trends, Honda has signed a basic agreement to form a partnership with SCSK to establish a system and capability that will enable more seamless and speedy software development. Through this partnership, the two companies will bring together their respective strengths, namely Honda’s system control and safety control technologies and SCSK’s broad range of IT technologies, and maximize synergy among the engineers of the two companies. With that, the two companies will strive to develop highly-competitive, next-generation, software-defined mobility products and services. Moreover, both companies will leverage this partnership to continuously enhance their respective talent pool of software engineers.

Based on this partnership, SCSK is planning to increase the number of its IT engineers working with Honda to approximately 1,000 by 2030.

Through this partnership, the two companies will work together on software development in the following areas:

Operating system (OS) for the next-generation electrical/electronic (E&E) architecture
Electrified powertrains
Advanced safety and automated driving
IVI (In-vehicle infotainment)
Also, through this partnership, the two companies will explore possible collaboration in the following areas:

Collaborative development:
Establishment of a “collaborative development office” where engineers from the two companies can interact more proactively while working together on various development projects.
Development of software engineers:
Introduction/implementation of human resource development measures that leverage the strengths of both companies.
Initiatives toward new value creation:
Joint development of new development processes and tools for software-defined mobility products and services.

Leoni & Valeo Synergy

Leoni, leading supplier of wiring systems and power distribution, and Valeo, leader in ADAS sensors and related functional software with a major electronics expertise, synergize their strengths to bring the best-in-class solution for zone controllers, key elements of the future vehicles. This cooperation was the basis for contributing with zone control units to the recently announced partnership between Renault Group and Valeo on the SDV (Software Defined Vehicle).

By combining their expertise, Valeo and Leoni have created an innovative and easy-to-integrate technology that enables the integration of more intelligence, functionality and performance in the vehicle. At the same time, it reduces system complexity as well as the amount of wiring – and thus also weight and costs.

In the cooperation, Leoni is responsible for the development of intelligent power distribution. Other key areas are the implementation of modular connection systems with a focus on automated wire harness production, thermal management and the optimization of packaging at vehicle level. Leoni is thus responsible for and optimizes the fail-operational power supply, which is crucial for automated driving functions in particular. Valeo takes overall responsibility for the project, develops the microcontroller and gateway components, and is in charge of production.

While already highly regarded by automotive manufacturers as a supplier of customer-specific wiring harnesses (KSK), Leoni is now successively expanding its portfolio to include innovative components and know-how for the future.

“The first series order is a confirmation of Leoni’s goal to become a system supplier for the wiring system of the future and to take a leading role in the development and realization of zonal architectures,” says Walter Glück, Chief Technology Officer of Leoni’s Wiring Systems Division.

In addition to the cooperation with Valeo to develop the zone control units, Leoni’s portfolio includes electronic power distribution units, the development of zonal wiring system architectures and automated production lines with which sub-harnesses for zonal approaches can be manufactured.

With zonal architecture, one or more high-performance computers serve as the “brain” of the vehicle, where all essential computing tasks and decisions take place. Several zone controllers are grouped around this “brain” and perform local tasks on the periphery. For example, they handle power distribution in their area, collect all the data from the sensors and transmit it to the high-performance computers in a bundled and time-structured manner.

This level of power distribution, connection of sensors and control of actuators creates the basis for software-defined vehicles (SDV). Software-based functionalities such as automated driving, personalization and infotainment as well as connected services require an interface to the physical layer of the vehicle environment and the vehicle itself, which requires a predictive architecture of the wiring system and zone control units. Only in this way can new and updated functions and services be offered as software in an existing vehicle architecture.