Interview with Sanjay Gupta

Sr. Director, NXP Semiconductors

Date: 10 Oct 2016 | Author: Punnoose Tharyan
Sanjay Gupta, Sr. Director, NXP Semiconductors

When you talk of semiconductors what exactly does it mean in terms of products and components that go into a vehicle?  Since semiconductors and the automotive electronics industry have a massive synergy, how has the industry evolved over the last decade or so?

Over the last decade, we have seen rapid growth in the automotive electronics industry. With the digital revolution happening in the country the consumer demand for connected and smart products are on a rise. Customers are looking forward to make their driving smart and easy.

The crux lies in the evolution of the semiconductor space as it is playing an instrumental role in making vehicles advanced and more user friendly.  The space covers a very wide area from vehicle networking, automotive lighting, car infotainment to, any electronic circuit present in a car, involves different semiconductors working together. Currently a modern connected car contains up to 100 control units (ECUs), managing everything from infotainment systems to mission-critical systems. Every car is laced with the microcontrollers, processors and sensors to help driver drive smart and secure.

Concepts like IoTs and Smart Cities have inflated the demand for automotive electronics, as consumers want their cars to be smart, secure and connected. In India too, we are seeing rapid transformation and growth in automotive electronics segment. We are seeing a trickle-down effect in this segment as now it is not just restricted to luxury vehicles, it acts as a point of differentiation in the lower segment. According to IMS Research, the global market for automotive electronics is set to rise to Rs.13.04 lakh crore ($240 billion) in 2020. Today 90% of auto innovation is happening via electronics and there is furthermore opportunity in this segment.  There is a massive opportunity for the semiconductor market in India.

What has been the exposure / contribution of NXP Semiconductors towards the automotive industry, both in India and abroad?

Over the years, our operations have significantly grown in India and today we are a team of professional engineers working tirelessly to move up the value chain. They are a vital part of global network of design teams which form the core of NXP business operations. In 2007, NXP India expanded its Noida operation with acquisition of 300,000-sqare-foot campus. The India Design Center is involved in development of hardware and software designs for the embedded market.

We are now leaders in various segments; automotive, networking, connected homes are few of the segments which have immense scope and we are looking at tapping this opportunity aggressively. Today, we are the #1 suppliers of automotive electronics and a significant part of our revenue is generated from automotive business. We are also India’s no. 1 semiconductor supplier in the non-memory space and rank 4th worldwide. This is the testimony of our success and focus in the India market.

From a global perspective, we are leading in various segments like communications processors, broad-based MCUs, secure identifications, RF power transistors, small signal discrete and automotive.

Can you tell us about your production capabilities and your presence in India / globe?

India is a key market for us and especially with the kind of focus on R&D and other initiatives like Digital India, Smart cities etc. we believe we have huge opportunity here and are looking to significantly contribute to various initiatives of the government. As mentioned earlier, we are the #1 automotive suppliers in India and with the proliferation of automotive electronics segment, there is a huge opportunity for us.  We have the right kind of products, solutions and the expertise to cater to this segment. Today almost 80% of the cars use NXP chip for RFID key. We are working with multiple Indian OEMs in India and abroad and this is a segment which contributes to a significant amount of our overall business. The India Design Center is involved in development of hardware and software designs for the embedded market.

We are working extensively on in-car infotainment, ADAS and other security solutions in the automotive space. Today, what is increasingly becoming important is security. Our R&D team is focused on enabling secure car access and are working on other security solutions. We are also focusing on other areas like the non-memory space, connected home and have solutions to cater to larger initiatives like Smart cities, secure gateways etc.

In a nutshell, globally we are $10 billion in revenue, 45000 employees with more than 11000 engineers, present in more than 35 countries, more than 9000 patent families and the fourth largest semiconductor player.

As automobiles begin to have more and more electronics content in them, what is the scope of business for your company and also with concepts like driverless cars becoming a reality how does the business scenario look for your company?

India is betting big on IoT which makes us bullish on the opportunities it creates for us.  The concept of smart and connected cars is slowly progressing. With major technology and semiconductor players investing heavily, the ecosystem is only booming. Today, most automobile companies are banking on technologies within the car to drive sales and carve a niche.  Technology is going to be the deciding factor in the sale of any vehicle moving forward. Connected cars are certainly the future, though it will take some time to permeate into the Indian market.

Consumers are preferring technology updates to make their driving safer, easier and fun. Technologies like advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are gaining traction as it helps drivers with every aspect of driving, from safety to better fuel economy. The main idea of ADAS is to enable drivers to foresee what lies ahead. NXP has three types of ADAS systems based on the needs of any individual. Very recently, we achieved live reception of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) services for vehicles in India. Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is a service which helps to boost AM audio quality so as to provide individuals with enhanced radio quality. We designed a chipset module that is capable of handling three digital standard signals on a single platform. The DRM module so developed, will not only help to improve radio quality over AM channels but also provide users with utilities like updates pertaining to real-time traffic scenarios, news and natural disaster warnings.

We are committed to transforming the car from a simple mode of transport into a mobile information hub. NXP’s robust in-vehicle networking and secure interfaces connect vehicles to each other and the outside world. Apart from this, the systems capture data, process it and share control with drivers in critical situations. Our recognized strengths are in car access, broadcast reception, automotive microcontrollers and in-vehicle networks. These technologies are complemented by a growing portfolio of vision, radar and sensor fusion processors, telematics, car-to-car, car-to-infrastructure communications and NFC solutions. We are enabling car owners to leverage services like seamless communication between vehicles on road, remote car management, broadcast management, location based services and personalization settings.

Coming to automotive electronics, with newer technologies coming up, how challenging is it for your company?

Security at every level is utmost important. Security is the backbone for ADAS, V2X, V2V from hardware all the way to software. We are addressing the challenges successfully at all levels with heavy R & D investment especially in this direction.

There are physical infrastructure challenges as well specially in developing countries like India. A lot of planning, R & D needs to be done in this sector. Initiatives like “Make in India” surely gives a ray of hope to company like ours for a brighter and advanced India.

Apart from the automotive industry, which are the other industries that you address and what is the share of the business that comes from automotive?

NXP is committed to providing scalable IOT and security technologies to help bring smart cities to life making urban living simpler and safer. We are one of the leading brands in the security and connected ecosystem and we are working tirelessly to ensure that our solutions and products can solve the security challenges of today. We know security is an increasingly critical part of the connected solutions you use and design. Identity theft is at an all-time high. Data privacy concerns are arising on pace with the growth of connected devices. And newly-connected command and control systems present attractive targets for hackers. Our R&D team is focused on enabling secure car access and are working on other security solutions. In order to ensure data is protected and guarantee the security of networked devices in future, regulatory precautions are called for to minimize risk. 

In the near term to long term, how do you see the growth of your company panning out?

India is a key market for us, and with government’s focus on initiatives like Digital India, Smart Cities etc., we believe we have a lot to offer. Our products and solutions are a great fit for these segments and we can further enable to boost the overall ecosystem. From a market positioning perspective, we are clearly the top automotive supplier in the country. We are already working with most of the leading automotive companies here and we want to further maintain and grow our business in this segment. 


Tags NXP Semiconductors ECUs microcontrollers IMS Research IoTs smart cities car infotainment electronic cicruit vehicle networking semiconductor market auto innovation

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Sanjay Gupta
Date - 10 Oct 2016

Sr. Director, NXP Semiconductors

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