Samsung doubles down on automotive chip tech… kind of

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Last updated: May 6th, 2021 at 15:31 UTC+01:00

Samsung has invested significant resources into development of mid-range automotive chipsets, sources from South Korea report. The news is significant in the sense that the company hasn’t been particularly committed to vehicle manufacturers in the past. Its most notable push in the segment came as part of the Artik Cloud platform, and that entire business was shuttered in early 2019.

And yet saying that the Seoul-based tech giant is revisiting its chipmaking priorities would be inaccurate. Namely, Samsung’s newly emerged commitment to the automotive sector revolves around a side project in its home country targeting non-flagship system-on-chip solutions for connected vehicles.

Will Samsung Foundry age like fine wine or a typical automaker?

It isn’t producing any silicon directly, mind you. Instead, the work that’s being done targets microcontroller units whose designs come from Telechips. The latter is an international fabless company and a long-standing partner of Samsung’s.

In effect, no automotive chipsets have yet came out of Samsung’s flagship manufacturing lines in South Korea. The day that happens won’t be a happy one for Samsung stockholders, seeing how automotive chipmaking is generally viewed as one of the least profitable sectors in the business. And while this news might have you thinking that day isn’t too far off, the reality is that we’re in for an alarmingly large chip shortage in the immediate future.

Still, the development does indicate that Samsung’s looking into all possible diversification avenues right now, which is a pretty clear indicator of a mature business. But whether Samsung Foundry ages like fine wine or milk is what remains to be seen.

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