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Digital twin technology can shorten automotive development cycles.

What Lies Ahead for Auto Industry in 2024

Trends in 2024 will demonstrate the need for extended collaboration at all stages in the automotive development process.

The race to develop the most advanced, secure and safe vehicles on the road has been on for quite some time, but we expect that race to gain speed in 2024. Global competition between automakers, consumer demand for advanced features, upcoming automotive industry regulations and new entrants to the automotive silicon market are fueling this fierce battle.

Despite this competition and intensified market pressure, there is still a need for extended collaboration at all stages in the automotive development process to manage the increasing complexity of vehicle systems-on-chip (SoCs), the evolving cybersecurity threat landscape and shortening development cycles.

Here are our top four predictions that we see guiding the automotive market in 2024:

  1. Market Pressure Yields Shorter Automotive Development Cycles

Automakers are rushing to keep up with Chinese manufacturers who are setting the pace of development at levels previously unseen in the traditional market. Due to robust automotive safety standards and resulting testing needs, the technology in a brand-new car is likely to be five to seven years old. Chinese manufacturers are closing that gap to be closer to three to five years. Both silicon and software testing validation need to happen quickly to accelerate development, often in parallel with one another.

One way the industry is lessening the time to market for vehicles is by using digital twin technology, which can be utilized for an entire vehicle, its software, electrical system, SoCs, etc., to detect performance issues, test new features and optimize features throughout the entire design and manufacturing processes. Digital twins – virtual models or representations of a system under development – can also be used for vehicle electrical/electronic (E/E)-system validation, allowing for a shift-left approach in automotive design that is invaluable for shortening design and development cycles. That’s because it permits early hardware and software integration and frontload testing. Additionally, silicon lifecycle management technology, with data collected from in-vehicle sensors for analysis, can deliver insights that will support root-cause analysis, predictive maintenance, and aging and degradation management.

  1. Centralized Zonal Architecture Will Begin to Come Online

While zonal architectures for automotive won’t be fully rolled out until the end of this decade, we expect to see the development of zonal architectures that will further integrate functions and associated application software into centralized SoCs and modules. This mixture of new applications and evolving system architecture has enabled a new level of sensors and SoCs with high performance, expanded functionality, new hosted applications and amplified amounts of AI. Thus, this increasing level of complexity is forcing the industry to adopt leading-edge automotive semiconductor technologies at 7 nm, 5 nm and even 3 nm. Full realization of zonal architecture within the automotive industry will occur incrementally as certain OEMs, especially electric vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla, invest more aggressively in new platforms and applications and therefore move SoCs to more advanced nodes. In 2024, we also will see more hybrid architectures being used to achieve a centralized system by 2030.

  1. New Entrants to Automotive Silicon Design Call for Consulting Services

Much like tech behemoths Meta, Apple and Amazon have brought chip development in-house, we are seeing a similar shift in the automotive industry. Both traditional automakers and those that are relatively new to the scene such as Rivian, BYD Auto and XPeng are getting into the chip design game, but they can’t do it alone. These companies will need their design engineering teams to ramp up productivity quickly. With today’s market pressures and distributed design teams, anything that brings greater efficiency could be turned into a competitive advantage.

A common platform of chip design tools simplifies the effort and fosters better outcomes, eliminating the need to spend time making the tools work together. Beyond tools, additional expertise and consulting will be necessary for these companies, especially given the unique knowledge and technology required to develop automotive-grade products. There are simply not enough chip design engineers with automotive-grade expertise at each of these new-entrant automotive companies to round out an entire department without the use of consultants.

  1. UN Regulation 155 Will Increase Pressure for Cybersecurity

Beginning July 2024, the UN 155 regulation on cybersecurity will require the entire automotive value chain from OEMs to suppliers and sub-suppliers to implement a cybersecurity management system. While the industry already can reference and utilize the ISO/SAE 21434 standard, which provides the framework to develop a secure product in the automotive industry, it is a standard, not a legal requirement. UN 155R is a legally binding regulation that automakers must follow to participate in the EU. In other words, the ISO 21434 industry standard provides support to meet requirements found in WP.29 regulation.

Chris Clark headshot.jpgThis new standard applies to software, systems, components and IP, and will require further collaboration throughout the entire automotive supply chain. There are various ways to prepare now for UN 155, including implementing a Threat Analysis and Risk Assessment (TARA) program, utilizing chip design and IP solutions developed with security in mind, using static analysis solutions to detect vulnerabilities early on, and implementing well-known encryption standards, to name a few.

We will see some major changes in the automotive industry next year. The industry will need to come together to deliver on upcoming regulations, new features that the consumer has come to expect, and faster times to market.

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– with Ron DiGiuseppe and Stewart Williams

Chris Clark (pictured, top left) is automotive systems security architect at Synopsys. Ron DiGiuseppe (pictured, middle left) is automotive IP segment manager at Synopsys. Stewart Williams (pictured, lower left) is director of technical marketing for automotive at Synopsys.

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