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GlobalFoundries And Bosch Emphasize Shift In Automotive Semis

Mar. 10, 2021 1:53 AM ETSMH, SOXL, SOXX, XSD, USD, SOXS, PSI, FTXL, SSG, NXPI, RNECF, QCOM2 Comments
Bob O'Donnell profile picture
Bob O'Donnell


  • When car orders tanked immediately after the pandemic hit, car makers dramatically cut their orders, and thus, chip suppliers shifted their manufacturing capacity to components for all the other high-tech devices whose sales soared during the pandemic.
  • When car sales started picking up, automakers went back to these chip suppliers asking for more. Unfortunately, automotive parts had been moved to the back of the priority line, particularly because some of these automotive chips were low-margin, and it isn't a fast process to switch production lines back.
  • In the case of Bosch working directly with GlobalFoundries to develop a new radar chip focused on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) applications, Bosch essentially short-circuited the multi-tier supply chain and took their own design straight to a chip manufacturing partner in GlobalFoundries.

It's rare to see mainstream news stories about challenges involving the semiconductor industry, but when some automotive manufacturing plants in the US were recently shut down because of a shortage of chips, suddenly everyone wanted to understand why. The reporting that went into those stories ended up shining a light on little-understood areas of business, such as automotive and tech industry supply chains, as well as companies that weren't widely known, including US-based chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries.

Along the way, the media and politicians became acutely aware of the challenges facing US-based semiconductor manufacturing, as well as how dependent even seemingly traditional industries had become on chips and digital technologies. In addition, quite a few of them discovered that GlobalFoundries was a critical supplier to numerous automotive companies. What many didn't really figure out, however, is exactly why that is the case. Of course, part of the reason is that the connection is a complex one that, to fully understand, requires digging into the details of how and why these automotive technology supply chains exist in their current state, as well as how some key chip process technologies work. That's not something that's going to be appealing to a mainstream audience.

What's even more interesting than these essential elements, however, is to see how these business relationships are continuing to advance and what those changes says about the evolution of the entire automotive industry. Case in point is a newly announced deal with Tier 1 supplier Bosch working directly with GlobalFoundries (GF) to develop a new radar chip focused on ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) applications. Specifically, Bosch has designed an SOC (System on Chip) using millimeter wave technology - yes, similar to what's used for 5G - that will be built using GF's 22FDX RF manufacturing process.

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This article was written by

Bob O'Donnell profile picture
Bob O’Donnell is the founder and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a technology consulting and market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

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Comments (2)

@Bob O'Donnell Your articles are always a treat to read. They are well written and insightful. Too few authors take the time to define acronyms key to the article and explain what they do. If one of your goals in writing these article is to educate, then mission accomplished. I know I always feel more knowledgeable after reading.
Thanks for the article.
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