Key Predictions for the Automotive Sector in 2023

As much attention as autonomous driving and EVs get, the most obvious change will be the cockpit experience. Horsepower and streamlined exterior aesthetics, while still important, take a back seat to what goes inside the car.

Chris Clark

December 13, 2022

5 Min Read
Tesla software update
Tesla models regularly receive over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

A continuing trend in the automotive industry in 2023 will be the semiconductor shortage. COVID-19-induced supply-chain challenges have been exacerbated by geopolitical tensions and global economic concerns. Nevertheless,  Synopsys is bullish on the future of the evolution of semiconductor-enabled technology in the automotive sector.

So, what else can we expect next year?

A Continued Evolution (If Not Acceleration) of Semi-Autonomous Features

The dream of Level 5 autonomy is still out there, despite the demise of some notable autonomous-vehicle startups and programs. Advanced driver-assistance systems, a necessary AV subset, are delivering real innovation and value as carmakers look to incorporate more efficient and intuitive ways to enable safer and more predictable driving. We don’t foresee ADAS advancements slowing at all.

We’ve come to expect improvements in basic sensing technology such as lidar, radar and cameras to boost situational awareness. Notably, we can look to the continued adoption of artificial intelligence and greater computational power for powerful vehicle infrastructure to create baseline detection and identification features. Such features add more predictive and analytics insights, enhancing the ability of both the car and operator to react in faster, more informed ways to changes in a driving scenario.

This type of data is being continuously gathered and interpreted by ADAS systems, paving the way for more improvements to the increasingly semi-independent operation of vehicles – in many ways unveiling the extent of the challenge of complete autonomy. Assisted autonomy is happening now and semiconductor technology is providing important guardrails to make it safer, including the increased use of driver-monitoring sensors that can alert the operator when human intervention is required or if the operator is too distracted or disengaged from the operation of the vehicle.

Those are the types of things that are going to help feed into the fully autonomous driving future that Level 5 autonomy promises. In the short term, they help current-generation systems become more predictive and understanding of their environment. AVs and ADAS are developing together and feeding this larger body of data that’s needed to help systems make better decisions.

Further Improvements in Quality and Reliability of Electric Vehicles

The current generation of electric vehicles are measured mainly by their range and battery performance. This is not an unimportant metric, but as the industry matures, a greater focus on the overall quality and reliability of the entire vehicle will be considered.

The real challenge with EVs is reliability (and not only the reliability of the battery). Part of the issue is that EVs are mostly new-model concepts, built from the ground up. We expect to see much more focus on addressing software quality to ensure basic performance. We view this as an ongoing, continuous improvement challenge, but for 2023 it’ll be a primary issue to address.

There’s no getting around the fact that the success of EVs will continue to be dictated by cost and range (or perceived range). If you look at what consumers want most, it still tends to be improvement in either cost or range. First-time consumers of EVs are looking at the utility of it and what it can do compared to traditional combustion-engine vehicles. But we believe that once EVs break the 500-mile (805-km)-range challenge, then the concern about range will lessen and the focus will shift to issues around quality, reliability and in-car features.

In-Cabin Experience Is Where We Will See the Most Change

As much attention as autonomous driving and EVs get, the most obvious change will be the cockpit experience. We see that continuing to evolve rapidly and changing the way people evaluate their next purchases and how automakers differentiate themselves. Horsepower and streamlined exterior aesthetics, while still important, take a back seat to what goes inside the car.

Accustomed to the smart-device experience at home or on their mobile phones, consumers are looking for similar experiences in the car. It starts with the obvious visual elements, such as bigger, more interactive displays now reaching from pillar to pillar on the dashboard, or even implemented as head-up displays on the vehicle glass for better safety and convenience.

The “smartphone-ization of the car” is becoming more mainstream for the consumer. Another growth area we foresee is user customization of features, such as the ability to change the color of the vehicle’s cabin lights. As features like this become more common, manufacturers can offer further customizations from third-party services such as mobile-phone makers, wireless-network operators or any number of services appealing to those moving about.

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Along those lines, we see the emergence of on-demand subscription services for in-car features expanding in 2023 and beyond. These features and upgrades are managed by over-the-air software updates.

From our chip-level view, things don’t change too much for traditional vehicle ECU needs. On the hardware-design level, the focus is more on ADAS specialization, central computing and the software that allows the dealer, OEM or service provider to control these features. As a result, these OTA updates are much more challenging from a software and management perspective than the underlying chip design. This changes the dynamic of how an OEM must manage and understand what is happening in their software development practices, ensuring that they have those capabilities.


It’s an exciting, if not sometimes nerve-racking, time to be in the automotive industry. Our role as an enabler of the most leading-edge electronics and software systems pushing the industry forward gives us a ringside seat for what is truly a turning point in how people move around.

Chris Clark (pictured, above left) is senior manager of automotive software and security for Synopsys' Automotive Group.

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