John Scott-Thomas, Semiconductor Insights(09/24/2007 9:00 AM EDT), EE Times
Customers are demanding more electronic value in automobiles as part of their driving experience. As a result, automotive manufacturers must consider carefully the intellectual property (IP) culture of the semiconductor industry, where patent licensing strategies are considerably different. In this case, IP refers to patent and trademark rights.
The automobile is transforming from an essentially mechanical device to an electrical one. In 1980, electronic equipment made up less than 1 percent of the cost of a vehicle. In 1990, this had grown to 7 percent, and in 2007, it's 22 percent.
As silicon displaces steel in a vehicle's value, the composition of the electronic equipment inside the vehicle is also being redistributed.
Semiconductor Insights (SI) has catalogued more than 1,200 automotive electronic components since 1989. The parts investigated are increasingly systems and microcontrollers rather than discrete devices and sensors. Not only are the sensors and control hardware part of IP analysis now, but control routines such as braking algorithms are often investigated.
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