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September 20, 2017

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Chip-maker MediaTek to break into auto market

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- MediaTek (聯發科), Taiwan's leading integrated circuit designer, on Tuesday revealed plans to break into the car market, with its first automobile chip set to launch in the first quarter of 2017.

The announcement comes after chip-giant Qualcomm's big bet on the automotive industry by buying NXP Semiconductors, the world's largest developer of chips for automobiles.

With its chips used in 1.5 billion consumer devices per year, MediaTek is already a big player in chips for consumer electronics.

MediaTek vice chairman and president Hsieh Ching-jiang (謝清江) said the firm could leverage its technological capabilities in smartphones, family entertainment, wireless connection and internet of things to provide innovative multimedia, wireless and sensor solutions for the automobile industry.

The firm said it uses machine learning to increase the accuracy and speed of detection, recognition and tracking, making it more comparable to human decision-making.

Four Core Areas

Hsieh highlighted four key areas for development.

These included vision advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), high-precision millimeter wave (mm wave) technology, in-vehicle infotainment systems and telematics.

The company said it wants to provide highly integrated system solutions to auto-makers around the world, helping realize a future of connected cars and self-driving vehicles.

Connected cars are those that have access to the internet and a variety of sensors and are thus able to send and receive signals, sense the physical environment around them and interact with other vehicles or entities.

"Auto-makers increasingly need advanced technology that provides high computing power and power-efficiency, and is economically viable to win market opportunities," stressed Hsieh.

MediaTek Vice President J.C. Hsu (徐敬全) said the firm has invested more than US$10 billion in research and development over the past 12 years, achieving a leadership position in modem/RF-related technology, computing, wireless connections and intelligence algorithms.

Driverless Future

The firm wants to build on this know-how to develop more products that suit the needs of future drivers, said Hsu.

"The fast-growing demand for connected and autonomous vehicles requires a unique portfolio of technologies — tomorrow's high-tech cars will require a high degree of integration, innovative power management and improved functionality to support the highest level of safety demands and consumer needs. MediaTek's core competencies make for natural progression to help push for the future of driving," he said.

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