Denso Buys into Infineon

Article By : Nitin Dahad, EE Times

Long-term partnership underlined by small equity stake purchase

LONDON — Japanese automotive components supplier Denso Corp. grabbed a stake in German chipmaker Infineon Technologies, investing an undisclosed amount described as “the mid-double-digit million-euro amount.”

Denso and Infineon aim to accelerate development of new and emerging automotive technologies — including automated driving, vehicle electrification and electro-mobility — using Infineon’s intelligent sensors, microcontrollers and power semiconductors.

Infineon — which currently has a market capitalization of nearly $23 billion — said the two companies have been working together for more than 10 years and that Denso wanted to underline the partnership with a small equity stake.

In 2012, Infineon received a technical development award from Denso for its tire pressure sensor chip supporting built-in auto-location. The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensors measure pressure inside the tire and the pressure value is transmitted via RF to the receiving unit of the car. Auto-location means that the system automatically correlates the four received pressure signals with the appropriate four tire positions.

Denso’s investment comes as the company recognizes that with increased functionality in vehicles and advanced electronic control, demand for semiconductor products will grow exponentially. Next-generation vehicle systems required for widespread automated driving, electrification and connected cars are becoming more sophisticated and will feature more advanced technology. The company said it has been working with chip suppliers like Infineon to enhance in-vehicle semiconductor product development.

“We would like to establish optimal semiconductor solutions for in-vehicle electronics systems through strong partnerships with semiconductor companies in order to enhance the competitiveness of automated driving and electrification systems,” said Hiroyuki Ina, Denso’s senior executive director, in a press statement.

Denso, headquartered in Japan’s Aichi prefecture, has approximately 220 subsidiaries in 35 countries and regions.

Last month, Denso announced that it is establishing a new facility at Haneda Airport in Tokyo to develop and test automated driving technologies. The facility, which is expected to be completed by June 2020, will feature a building and proving ground for mobility systems R&D. This location is part of a broader initiative led by Tokyo’s Ota City, Denso  and other entities to transform underutilized space at the airport into a hub for leading-edge technology development and mixed-use cultural facilities.

Denso also established an automated driving R&D office near Shinagawa Station in Tokyo’s Minato to promote collaboration and open innovation with its development partners, which include automakers, universities, research institutes and startups. This facility will include a building to develop prototypes and maintain test vehicles and also a proving ground to conduct live, in-vehicle tests.

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