Chip technology startup SiFive is launching products focused on the automotive market

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Patrick Little, CEO of chip technology startup SiFive, poses with employee Sahar Rahgozar at SiFive’s headquarters in San Mateo, California, USA on October 19, 2021. SiFive/Handout by REUTERS

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Sept 13 (Reuters) – Silicon Valley startup SiFive Inc on Tuesday launched three new products aimed at the automotive market, which has emerged as one of the hottest areas expected to boost chipmakers’ demand for electric and self-driving cars. .

The new chip designs start with the E6-A series for digital control applications such as steering, the S7-A so-called “safety islands” for other critical applications such as failure, and the X280-A to manage data from image sensors and perform machine learning tasks including autonomous driving.

“What you’re going to see us go from are these targeted computer chips … to an array of processors that will live in the next 12 to 24 months,” said Syfive CEO Patrick Little.

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Before SiFive, Small helped build Qualcomm’s automotive business, and said both Qualcomm Inc ( QCOM.O ) and Nvidia Corp ( NVDA.O ) would be ideal customers and partners for SiFive.

Qualcomm and Nvidia are both betting big on automotive, and have launched systems such as Snapdragon Ride and NVIDIA DRIVE that automotive customers can use for applications including autonomous driving.

SiFive doesn’t make chips, but designs them for chipmakers to use. It uses the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), the basis for building chips, which defines what software can run on the chips. Arm Ltd’s ARM and Intel’s ( INTC.O ) x86 are the main ISAs used today for general-purpose processors, or the brains of computers. RISC-V is an open standard that is gaining a lot of attention, especially in China.

SiFive competes with Arm, which is targeting the automotive market.

The strongest demand for the chip technology comes from customers looking to develop autonomous vehicles.

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By Jane Lanhy Lee Reporting by Chris Reese

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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