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Renesas to Transform Transphorm with Acquisition
Renesas Electronics Corporation (“Renesas,” TSE: 6723), a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, and Transphorm, Inc. (“Transphorm,” Nasdaq: TGAN), a global leader in robust gallium nitride (“GaN”) power semiconductors, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which a subsidiary of Renesas will acquire all outstanding shares of Transphorm’s common stock for $5.10 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 35% to Transphorm’s closing price on January 10, 2024, a premium of approximately 56% to the volume weighted average price over the last twelve months and a premium of approximately 78% to the volume weighted average price over the last six months. The transaction values Transphorm at approximately $339 million. The acquisition will provide Renesas with in-house GaN technology, a key next-generation material for power semiconductors, expanding its reach into fast-growing markets such as EVs, computing (data centers, AI, infrastructure), renewable energy, industrial power conversion and fast chargers/adapters.
Demand for highly efficient power systems is increasing as building blocks for carbon neutrality. To address this trend, an industry-wide transition toward wide bandgap (“WBG”) materials, represented by silicon carbide (“SiC”) and GaN, is also being seen. These advanced materials allow a broader range of voltage and switching frequency than conventional silicon-based devices. To build on this momentum, Renesas has announced the establishment of an in-house SiC production line, supported by a 10 year SiC wafer supply agreement.
Renesas now aims to further expand its WBG portfolio with Transphorm’s expertise in GaN, an emerging material that enables higher switching frequency, lower power losses, and smaller form factors. These benefits empower customers’ systems with greater efficiency, smaller and lighter composition, and lower overall cost. As such, demand for GaN is predicted to grow by more than 50 percent annually, according to an industry study. Renesas will implement Transphorm’s auto-qualified GaN technology to develop new enhanced power solution offerings, such as X-in-1 powertrain solutions for EVs, along with computing, energy, industrial and consumer applications.
“Transphorm is a company uniquely led by a seasoned team rooted in GaN power and with origins from the University of California at Santa Barbara,” said Hidetoshi Shibata, CEO of Renesas. “The addition of Transphorm’s GaN technology builds on our momentum in IGBT and SiC. It will fuel and expand our power portfolio as a key pillar of growth, offering our customers the full ability to choose their optimal power solutions.”
“Combined with Renesas’ world-wide footprint, breadth of solution offerings and customer relationships, we are excited to pave the way for industry-wide adoption of WBG materials and set the stage for significant growth. This transaction will also allow us to offer further expanded services to our customers and deliver significant immediate cash value to our stockholders,” said Dr. Primit Parikh, Co-founder, President and CEO of Transphorm and Dr. Umesh Mishra, Co-founder and CTO of Transphorm. “Additionally, it will provide a strong platform for our exceptional team to further Transphorm’s leading GaN technology and products.”
The board of directors of Transphorm has unanimously approved the definitive agreement with respect to the transaction and recommended that Transphorm stockholders adopt such definitive agreement and approve the merger. Concurrently with the execution of the definitive agreement, KKR Phorm Investors L.P., which holds approximately 38.6% of Transphorm’s outstanding common stock, has entered into a customary voting agreement with Renesas to vote in favor of the transaction.
The transaction is expected to close in the second half of calendar year 2024, subject to Transphorm stockholder approval, required regulatory clearances and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
(Remarks) All names of products or services mentioned in this press release are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
Intel Foundry to Make MIPI Chips for Valens
Valens Semiconductor (NYSE:VLN) and Intel Foundry Services (IFS) announce that IFS will fabricate Valens Semiconductor’s MIPI A-PHY chipsets using its advanced process nodes, aiming to address the robust demand in the market for this innovative connectivity solution. This collaboration furthers the strategic relationship between Valens and IFS that starts with the development of next generation of A-PHY in the automotive industry based on Intel leading-edge technology.
MIPI A-PHY is the first automotive industry standard developed for in-vehicle high-speed sensor connectivity. Since its release in 2020, it has attracted a growing ecosystem of companies designing products based on the technology. Valens Semiconductor, a key contributor to the standard, was the first on the market to offer A-PHY-compliant chipsets with its VA7000 product family.
“Best-in-class products, like our A-PHY chipsets, require best-in-class processes – and that’s exactly what we’re getting through this collaboration with Intel Foundry Services” said Gideon Ben Zvi, CEO of Valens Semiconductor. “With the full suite of resources Intel offers, including advanced process and packaging technologies, and a broad IP portfolio, we’re confident that we can further advance our A-PHY products. As a leader in MIPI A-PHY, we are proud to provide the most resilient high-performance connectivity technology, enabling significantly safer cars in the future.”
As part of this strategic collaboration, Valens Semiconductor will utilize Intel’s leading edge process technology to produce its second generation of A-PHY chipsets. Intel’s ecosystem and advanced processes will enable significant cost and power reductions for this chipset family while achieving the highest-performance and flawless Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). With the significant increase in bandwidth and other architecture requirements, this unique set of capabilities ensure link performance and passenger safety are maintained at all times.
“One of the goals of Intel Foundry Services is to identify transformative technologies, and harness Intel’s breakthrough process technology and global ecosystem to accelerate innovation and unlock new opportunities for our customers,” said Stuart Pann, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Intel Foundry Services. “The MIPI A-PHY chipset is an obvious fit – a next-generation technology with the potential for broad market adoption that can help advance automotive performance and safety and further the autonomous vision.”
This collaboration will play a significant role in boosting the vision for a chiplet architecture in the automotive industry. With its reliance on advanced package integration and the use of standardized interfaces such as UCIe, the chiplet architecture will be complimented by MIPI A-PHY as the standardized connectivity interface. This is the best way to meet the automotive market’s requirements for high reliability, high performance, and low latency, and MIPI A-PHY will be a key enabler of this next-generation silicon architecture.
Danlaw Buys Cohda Wireless
Danlaw, Inc., a renowned pioneer in the field of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology, is thrilled to announce its acquisition of Australia-based Cohda Wireless. This strategic move marks a significant milestone in Danlaw’s global expansion initiative, aimed at advancing connected vehicle safety and smart city solutions. Since 2004, Cohda has been widely recognized for its cutting-edge V2X technology solutions that have consistently set industry standards. The acquisition of Cohda by Danlaw reflects a commitment to innovation and a shared vision of creating a more connected and safer future for vehicles, cities, and underground mining operations.
The synergies between Danlaw and Cohda will yield remarkable results in the V2X technology landscape. By aligning the strengths, resources, and expertise of both companies, this acquisition will accelerate the development and delivery of a suite of comprehensive solutions for connected vehicle safety, and smart city applications.
Key benefits of the Danlaw-Cohda partnership include:
Enhanced Safety Solutions: With a broader range of technologies and expertise, Danlaw and Cohda will continue to provide increasingly robust safety solutions for connected vehicles, reducing accidents and saving lives.
Improved Connectivity & Location Accuracy: The integration of Cohda’s V2X-Locate technology along with its ETSI, North American, and China based V2X communication stacks, will offer better positioning accuracy and connectivity solutions for vehicles, enabling real-time communication between vehicles and infrastructure, pedestrians, and other road users.
Smart City Advancements: The partnership will lead to the development of innovative smart city solutions, facilitating more efficient traffic management, reduced congestion, and enhanced urban planning on a global scale.
Accelerated Innovation: Danlaw’s commitment to innovation will be further bolstered with access to Cohda’s talent pool and industry leading V2X intellectual property, fostering the creation of groundbreaking V2X technology solutions for automotive OEMs, smart city initiatives and underground mining programs.
Global Footprint: Combining Danlaw’s strong presence in North America and India with Cohda’s well-established reach in Europe and APAC, the acquisition notably reinforces the global footprint of both companies, leading to localized assistance and solutions across all key regions, ensuring a truly global and responsive partnership.
Raju Dandu, Danlaw’s Founder-Chairman said, “This is truly exciting for the Danlaw family, as we see the combination of resources of these two great companies, ushering in new levels of transportation safety and efficiency, with the potential to transform mobility across the globe for the betterment of society.”
Further to Raju’s comment, Danlaw’s CEO, Tom Rzeznik stated, “This acquisition is a testament to Danlaw’s dedication to creating a safer and smarter future for transportation and urban environments. With Cohda’s expertise on board, we are confident that our combined efforts will accelerate advancements in V2X technology.”
Dr. Paul Gray, Cohda’s CEO added, “We are thrilled to join forces with Danlaw, a company that shares our global commitment and passion for innovation and safety. Together, we are poised to lead the way in V2X technology and make a lasting impact on the industry.”
This acquisition affirms Danlaw’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing the quality of service and support that Cohda’s existing customers have come to expect. The acquisition of Cohda by Danlaw is effective immediately, and both companies are working closely to leverage their combined strengths for the benefit of the automotive industry, smart cities, and mining operations.
Automotive cybersecurity and mobility solutions company AutoCrypt showcased its embedded systems and V2X security solutions for software-defined vehicles (SDV) at CES 2024, gaining attention with its smart fuzzing solution dedicated to automotive protocols.
AutoCrypt’s capability in vehicle fuzzing is also recognized by industry professionals. On the evening of the event’s opening day, AutoCrypt’s Chief Security Research Officer (CSRO), Dr. Jonghyuk Song, was announced winner in the “Experts” category of the 2024 MotorTrend SDV Innovator Awards, recognized for his groundbreaking research and leadership at AutoCrypt.
Ceva Expands NuePro-M Edge AI
Ceva, Inc. (NASDAQ: CEVA), the leading licensor of silicon and software IP that enables Smart Edge devices to connect, sense and infer data more reliably and efficiently, announced that it has expanded the AI ecosystem for its class-leading NeuPro-M NPU IP with the addition of two new partnerships targeting automotive and vision-based Edge AI applications.
Ran Snir, Vice President and General Manager of the Vision Business Unit at Ceva, remarked: “I would like to extend a warm welcome to Visionary.ai and ENOT.ai, who join the ecosystem of partners that support our Smart Edge customer base. These partners are bringing new levels of innovation to solve complex challenges using AI, and illustrate the value proposition of our NeuPro-M NPU to enable scalable AI workloads on-device with highest power efficiency.”
Visionary.ai empowers cameras to capture video in extreme low-light and HDR scenarios, with results that surpass human vision. Traditionally, low light and nighttime video has been one of the greatest imaging challenges, often resulting in dark, grainy, and unclear video. This new technology changes the game, enabling cameras to deliver unparalleled low-light performance. The technology can be deployed on the NeuPro-M NPU to enhance multiple Edge AI vision applications for a range of markets, including mobile, PC, IoT, robotics, automotive, security, smart cities, and medical imaging.
Oren Debbi, CEO of Visionary.ai. stated: “At Visionary.ai, we have managed to surpass human vision in extreme low-light conditions by harnessing the incredible power of AI. Through partnerships with leading Edge AI NPU companies like Ceva, we can bring this technology to a global audience, improving safety and functionality of vision-based Smart Edge devices by making the unseen seen.”
ENOT.ai specializes in neural network optimization, revolutionizing autonomous driving and Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS). The collaboration combines Ceva’s NeuPro-M NPU with ENOT.ai’s revolutionary AI assistant technology, aimed at enhancing automotive safety, efficiency, and driver experience. Key features of this collaboration include an AI assistant that provides real-time lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, and voice instructions for vehicle operation, enhancing safety for new drivers and personalizing settings for an optimized driving experience. This partnership promises to set new standards in AI-driven automotive solutions, focusing on intuitive driver assistance, vehicle efficiency, and intelligent edge computing capabilities.
David Rapoport, CRO at ENOT.ai, commented: “Ceva’s strong relationships within the automotive ecosystem and their AI NPU with industry-leading efficiency perfectly complement our AI automotive roadmap. This partnership exemplifies our mission to integrate AI seamlessly into everyday life, expanding role of the AI assistant in the automotive cockpit.”
Ceva’s NeuPro-M NPU IP addresses the processing needs of Classic and Generative AI with industry-leading performance and power efficiency for AI inferencing workloads. The NeuPro-M architecture is highly versatile and future proof thanks to an integrated VPU (Vector Processing Unit), supporting any future network layer, and offers high scalability with four NPUs – the NPM11, NPM12, NPM14, and NPM18 to suite any AI workload.
Xperi DTS Expands DTS AutoStage & HD Radio
DTS, Inc., a subsidiary of Xperi Inc. (NYSE: XPER), announced at CES® 2024 the expansion of its connected car entertainment technologies – DTS AutoStage and HD Radio – into more OEM vehicle models, including BMW, Ford and Harley Davidson. Additionally, DTS will be demonstrating a gaming prototype, the next addition to the DTS AutoStage platform. DTS AutoStage is a global entertainment platform for the connected car that seamlessly combines linear broadcast with IP-delivered content in a unified, user-centric experience. From audio to video and soon gaming, DTS AutoStage makes it easy and safe for consumers to discover and engage with the full spectrum of their entertainment preferences, all in one vehicle screen for today’s and tomorrow’s car owners, drivers and passengers.
“The increasing adoption of our connected car technologies is validation that, as consumers increasingly view the vehicle as a ‘third space’, they need more from their in-vehicle entertainment experience than a jumble of apps on their dash. They want experiences that are integrated, personalized and on-trend,” said Jeff Jury, Xperi’s senior vice president and general manager. “Our content first approach, that can support audio, video and games, illustrates our platform’s ability to rapidly advance to help automakers enhance and solidify their relationship with their customers by meeting their evolving entertainment needs and preferences.”
In a recent consumer survey by Xperi and DTS, it was discovered that 71% of those 25 to 34 want a built-in vehicle entertainment experience that is more than a mirror of their smartphone. Entertainment in the vehicle has transformed from simple audio capabilities, to front and rear seat video, with the next frontier including gaming. According to IDC, Gen Z are today’s most avid gamers at 14.9 hours a week on average, while consumers overall spend an average of 9.4 hours a week on gaming. While that is a relatively small slice of the 60 hours a week that consumers spend engaged with digital entertainment, the numbers are expected to rise in the next year for Younger Millennials, Older Millennials and Gen X.
DTS AutoStage plans to incorporate today’s most popular digital games including audio games, casual games and console/core games engineered with discovery and context that is personalized to users’ preferences, and designed to ensure games are played safely in the car. The addition of gaming to the platform will round out the platform by delivering a complete content-first media experience.
Because over-the-air updates are an integral part of the DTS AutoStage platform, immediate innovations and additions are easily and rapidly facilitated so consumers have the most up-to-date and relevant user interface with access to the most current and expansive content available.
For example, BMW, which recently rolled out DTS AutoStage Video Service Powered by TiVo™ in its BMW 5-Series vehicles throughout the United States, Great Britain, South Korea, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and soon also in Japan, is now being rolled out over-the-air to other models. Customers in the compact class have also had access to DTS AutoStage Video Service Powered by TiVo in vehicles with BMW Operating System 9 in conjunction with BMW Digital Premium since the end of 2023, with further vehicles, such as the BMW X2, and all models of the new MINI family following in 2024. DTS AutoStage Video Service Powered by TiVo is the ultimate in-car video entertainment experience. It brings personalized, content-first experience to the connected car, delivering free premium content across live TV, news, sports, movies, and more, on the vehicle screen.
The traction of Xperi connected car technologies is further evidenced by the ongoing expansion of HD Radio, the North American standard for digital radio, which recently marked milestone implementation in more than 100 million vehicles and, the company announced, for the first time in Harley Davidson motorbikes. In addition, Ford Motor Company is incorporating DTS AutoStage into certain North American vehicles, starting with the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus.
DTS Xperi Report Finds In-Vehicle Entertainment Important
DTS, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of entertainment technology company Xperi Inc. (NYSE: XPER), released a new automotive report, “From In-Vehicle Entertainment to Integrated In-Cabin Experience.” The report reveals that the personal vehicle is rivaling or outpacing other personal third spaces, which refers to a physical or virtual environment where one can relax or unwind. As the importance of the vehicle as a third space grows, consumers want more from their dashboard, valuing rich, comprehensive, personalized and discoverable content, including video. The report further explores the entertainment and features consumers want in today’s vehicle cabin.
Based on the results of a survey conducted by Censuswide, among 1015 U.S. adults who own/lease a vehicle, the report finds that for the majority (65%) – and for nearly 80% of those age 44 and under – in-vehicle entertainment is important. Two-thirds of those 25 to 44 say they want that entertainment to be personalized, and to have the highest quality audio with easily discoverable content constantly updated to meet digital advances and evolving needs.
In-dashboard video, including TV and on-demand streaming, is particularly important among younger demographics: over two-thirds of respondents between the ages of 17 and 44 are interested in it, with the same percentage saying that video capability would make them more likely to purchase a particular vehicle.
“The role of the personal vehicle continues to evolve into much more than just a way to get from point A to point B and, with that, consumers’ in-cabin entertainment needs are becoming more complex — from deeply integrated content to easily discoverable, high-quality video,” said Jeff Jury, senior vice president and general manager, Connected Car at Xperi. “As consumers, especially Gen Z and Millennials, look for an experience that makes the vehicle cabin a customizable, content-rich and comfortable third space, today’s technology offers automakers a unique opportunity to adopt progressive in-cabin platforms that can adapt rapidly to meet the evolving needs and preferences of their customers.”
Key Survey Takeaways:
- 70% of respondents between 25 and 34, and over 50% overall, view their vehicle as a third space.
- 71% of those 25 to 34 (and 56% overall) say they want their built-in vehicle entertainment experience to be more than a mirror of their smart phone.
- The majority (65%) of respondents – and nearly 80% of those 44 and under – say in-vehicle entertainment is important to them.
- 67% of those between the ages of 17 and 44 are interested in having video, including TV and on-demand streaming available as part of their vehicle dashboard/screen entertainment choices.
- 67% of those between the ages of 17 and 44 also say that having high-quality video capability in the dashboard/screens in a specific vehicle model/brand would make them more likely to purchase that vehicle.
- Of those who say in-vehicle entertainment is important:
- 81% say it is important to have a broad range of content (local radio, streaming, podcasts, audio books, etc.), and to be able to access relevant, easily ‘discoverable’ content (i.e., recommended in the dashboard) without looking for it, such as, local radio, streaming, podcasts, audio books, etc.
- Two-thirds say it is important that the content is enhanced with rich visual/textual information (i.e., album cover images, biographical info) about the artist and song listened to.
- 82% overall say being able to continue listening to a radio station digitally when the vehicle has gone out of broadcast range is important.
- 70% of all respondents say that an in-vehicle, built-in entertainment experience that automatically personalizes to their particular tastes/interests is important, with the largest number saying it is very important because they ‘don’t have to fiddle with controls when they are driving.’
The survey, conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by DTS, was fielded between September 29, 2023 – October 3, 2023. Download the report here: https://dts.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/From-In-Vehicle-Entertainment-to-Integrated-In-Cabin-Experience-2024-final.pdf/
CerebrumX Partners with HD Fleet
CerebrumX Labs Inc. (CerebrumX), an AI-driven automotive data platform company, is thrilled to announce its partnership with HD Fleet, a leading provider of GPS fleet management solutions. This partnership marks a significant milestone for both HD Fleet and CerebrumX, as they continue to pave the way in the fleet management industry.
CerebrumX’s innovative technology utilizes built-in GPS systems in vehicles to gather extensive real-time diagnostic information, providing clients with a new level of data and insights. This combined with HD Fleet’s dashcams will give fleet managers a more comprehensive and accurate view of their fleet’s activities.
The joint solution will take advantage of CerebrumX ADLP (Augmented Deep Learning Platform) to gain access to additional safety parameters collected within the vehicle, but often lost in transmission, beyond traditional risk factors. As a result, enabling HD Fleet to consider distracted driving, ADAS, ABS, seatbelt reminders and crash notifications, while delivering safety and driver reports to fleets for maximized vigilance and minimized risk.
“We are excited to join forces with CerebrumX and combine our expertise enhance fleet management and provide our clients with the best possible service,” said Scott McCurdy, CEO of HD Fleet. “Partnering with CerebrumX is a major step towards achieving that goal and we are excited to see the positive impact it will have on our clients’ operations.”
“By integrating our AI-driven data platform with HD Fleet’s advanced dashcams and GPS tracking cameras, we are placing the power of real-time embedded vehicle insights and safety at the forefront of our industry,” said Sandip Ranjhan, CEO at CerebrumX. “Together, we look forward to a future where fleets operate with heightened safety and efficiency.”
HD Fleet’s high-end dashcams offer real-time video monitoring, promoting responsible driving and swift incident response. CerebrumX complements this with live location tracking, vehicle performance, driver behavioral profiles, and crash forensics all conveniently packaged into a single, seamless installation, HD Fleet and CerebrumX bring forth a unique solution for fleet managers to optimize the operations and prioritize the safety of their drivers.