Exciting Opportunities to design complex ASICs in 2024

Author:  Oliver Jones, VP Strategic Sales, Sondrel

It’s really exciting to see all the predictions of revenue for the semiconductor industry in 2024 that range from 9 to 20% growth with the latest being @Malcolm Penn of @Future Horizons prediction of 16% year on year.

Of course, such a growth requires an increased number of fabs to make the chips. SEMI expects 94 200mm and 300mm new fabs to come online between 2022 and 2026, 78 of which have begun operation, or are installing new equipment or are under construction. Global semiconductor capacity is expected to increase 6.4% in 2024 to top the equivalent of 30 million 200mm wafers per month (wpm) for the first time. SEMI adds that the 2024 growth will be driven by capacity increases in leading-edge logic and foundry, applications including AI and high-performance computing (HPC), and the general recovery in demand for chips.


Rapid adoption of AI in Automated vehicles (Level 2+ or higher)

According to James Hodgson, research director at ABI Research, the number of highly automated vehicles (with Level 2+ functionality or higher) delivered will increase at a forecast compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41 percent from 2024 to 2030. Automobile manufacturers will use autonomous vehicle applications to shape their brand identity. “Because these applications rely heavily on artificial intelligence, car manufacturers need computing platforms that offer powerful and efficient AI computing power,” says Hodgson.

In addition to automotive, AI is, without doubt, key to next generation products as it makes them smarter, which means more compute power is needed and in turn more complex chip designs. With Sondrel’s Architecting the Future platforms and access to the very latest Arm processor IP including the ultra-powerful Neoverse cores, Sondrel can design custom AI-enabled chips with the right amount of power, performance and area that applications need

Localised Supply Chains

Geopolitics has meant that governments around the world have recognised the importance of chips to their economies with major funding programmes such as the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 that has a total budget of $280 billion. That includes a number of sub-categories, notably $52.7 billion under the CHIPS for America program, which is targeted at semiconductor manufacturing, R&D, and workforce development, and another $24 billion in tax credits for chip production. And, in the light of companies wanting localised chip manufacturing or at least to avoid certain geographies, at Sondrel we have access to a number of different supply chains to accommodate this as part of our full turnkey service that takes a chip idea all the way through to fully tested, volume production. We also offer pre-qualified supply chains for reduced risk and faster time to market.


Innovative Startups

Startups are the new blood bringing exciting new ideas to the industry. For example, Strategic Semiconductors said that Europe witnessed a surge in investment activity in 2023, with over US$3.4 billion poured into innovative startups across various sectors. The most notable investments were directed toward applications in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and EVs, accounting for 27% of the total funding. Quantum applications garnered significant attention, attracting 16% of investments, followed by displays (7%), wireless communications (6%) and photonics (6%). Whilst brilliant at new concepts, startups rarely have the expertise in house to design and manufacturer their own chips and so come to Sondrel to create a custom chip for them. We provide a major value add at the chip architecture stage as we can rapidly create an initial design using one of our Architecting the Future platforms to show how the design could meet power, performance and area requirements. This fast tracks the design cycle significantly and can give confidence to stakeholders  

Sondrel’s Architecting the Future design Platform

Where speed to market is a key factor for success, Sondrel’s design expertise and our innovative Architecting the Future design platforms can play a vital role in helping you achieve this. Sondrel’s Architecting the Future (AtF) re-uses proven building blocks and architectures to reduce risk and speed time to market. Sondrel has defined a set of, currently, five platforms that are used when scoping a new project with a customer. It starts with the SFA 100 for IoT sensor nodes then the SFA 200 single channel edge processing concept architecture and finally the powerful SFA 300 for compute intensive applications and each platform can be fine-tuned for the needs of a specific project. There is also the SFA 250 and the SFA 350 specifically for automotive applications that include detailed documentation for compliance to ISO 26262.

Chip designs can have several different or the same SFAs within them rather like building blocks to provide scalability. The modular nature of the SFAs means that processors can be slotted together to provide the compute power required by either selecting the appropriate core or by using several cores of different types. Because Sondrel knows how every element behaves, it can confidently say that the architecture and validation will meet the requirements of the project’s specification. It can also ‘wrap’ or include customer or third-party IP to  seamlessly integrate into the design.

We would be delighted to discuss how Sondrel can help you with your innovative projects for 2024 from helping finish designs to full design of ultra-complex custom chips and from solving supply chain issues to complete supply chain management, we want to be your partner for 2024. Click here to contact us.