When Valens Semiconductor entered the automotive industry, please tell us a bit about the company’s current shape, customers, and goals for the next 12 months.
Founded in 2006, Valens is a leading provider of semiconductor products for the evolving and growing automotive and audio-video markets. Our standard-setting technology is deployed by leading companies in performance- and cost-critical applications. Earlier this year, in September 2021, Valence was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. This is an important milestone in corporate travel and has provided the market support needed to accelerate growth.
It pushes the boundaries of connectivity by enabling high-speed video and data transmission over long distances. Our chipsets deliver video and data over industry-leading multi-gigabit bandwidth over long-distance, space-efficient wiring infrastructure, minimizing total system costs while eliminating delays. Guarantees error-free links.
Our products are already installed in vehicles around the world and support the most advanced MBUX. Infotainment system for Mercedes-Benz models.. Our technology has been selected as the baseline for the MIPIA-PHY standard for in-vehicle high-speed, long-range sensor connectivity. The A-PHY ecosystem is growing rapidly, with companies like Mobileye, Sony, Sunny Optical, and LG Innotek all announcing support for A-PHY, and more companies integrating A-PHY into their product roadmap. doing.
As a market leader, Valens is the first company to introduce MIPI A-PHY compliant chipsets and believes that this will be a significant milestone in the transformation of automotive in-vehicle connectivity around the world.
Why did you choose PTK? What opportunities did the merger of SPAC create?
PTK Acquisition Corp was one of many SPAC companies aiming for a stable business with innovative technology and a compelling and successful growth story. PTK has extensive operational and investment experience in the hardware and semiconductor industries, and management teams have a proven track record of leveraging global market relationships to leverage the synergies of the entire electronics and automotive value chains. So for us it was a natural fit.
Valens understands that it is forecasting strong earnings growth between now and 2026. What’s behind this?
Valens operates in a fast-growing market, and the addressable market in which we operate is expected to reach $ 9 billion by 2026.
We have a broad focus on MIPIA-PHY. We believe that the first A-PHY compliant chipset, the VA70XX family of engineering samples, will be released shortly to select potential customers and partners, making a huge leap forward in the industry. Many companies are interested in A-PHY, especially our chips, and we are confident that they will lead to further customer acquisition. We set ambitious yet achievable goals and believe we are in a good position to reach them.
ADAS is a rapidly evolving landscape. While level 1 and 2 driving automation is accelerating, higher levels of delay due to the lack of an established regulatory framework and the technical challenge of providing safety in all driving situations. there is. How do you think the market will evolve in the near future with respect to Level 2+ cars?
If the automotive industry wants to “upgrade” both the quality and quantity of sensors to enhance passenger safety, without touching on regulatory issues that are certainly important but outside the scope of our authority. True technical improvements need to be made. These are some of the key hurdles the industry must already meet for Level 2 and Level 3 vehicles, as well as the full deployment of self-driving cars, and future software-defined vehicles.
- Zero latency – Automation requires perfect communication between different systems in the vehicle, including both sensors to ECUs and ECUs to ECUs. As more features and applications are added, the car will have to calculate and transfer more data, which will cause significant delays. In scenarios where safety-critical decisions need to be made within a fraction of a second, this can have serious and even fatal consequences.
- High bandwidth connection – Connected cars need to continually process and stream data from the vehicle’s environment and its internal systems, always communicating in real time. It’s only a matter of time before a car produces and consumes several terabytes of data per day. It’s definitely a lot of data that requires high bandwidth to support this. Due to the very wide range of computing platforms and data it processes, it is difficult to integrate autonomous driving systems that can communicate efficiently in the car. Therefore, high bandwidth transmission is essential to pioneer self-driving cars.
- Error-free transmission – To move to higher levels of autonomous driving, cars need to be able to send data from higher resolution cameras, next-generation radar, and so on. This requires much higher bandwidth (8-16 Gbps and above) and can also expose your cabling infrastructure to error. Therefore, enabling the vehicle’s wiring infrastructure to deliver high bandwidth without error is an important step in reaching the next level of autonomous driving.
Upgrading the in-vehicle connectivity infrastructure paves the way for the next stage in the evolution of self-driving cars and software-defined vehicles.
The connection standard that is gaining momentum in the industry is A-PHY. Why is A-PHY the gold standard for in-vehicle connectivity?
The automotive industry needs standardized solutions that can guarantee zero latency, error-free, and high-speed communication in the vehicle. Despite long competition for the implementation of standard automotive connectivity solutions, A-PHY is leading both in maturity, market ecosystem, and technological advantage.
The A-PHY compliant chipset supports 2 to 16 Gbps over a 10 to 15 meter cable and has a roadmap to 24 to 48 + Gbps. This is more than enough to meet the very difficult bandwidth requirements of current and future sensor technologies. These high-speed links are largely unaffected by electromagnetic noise and ensure error-free links between components.
In addition, many OEMs are evaluating A-PHY, sensor companies such as Sony have already promised to integrate A-PHY into their product lines, and suppliers such as Mobileye will take the next step in A-PHY. It professes to support PHY. -Generation products.
Valens technology was selected as the baseline for MIPI A-PHY, a new global automotive video connectivity standard released in 2020. Earlier this year, a well-known IEEE standardization body eventually adopted A-PHY as one of its standards. Valens’ technology choices will enable us to offer the first MIPI A-PHY compliant chipsets on the market, keeping us ahead of the curve. As mentioned earlier, this standard is becoming a reality in the industry as we plan to provide our customers with engineering samples by the end of 2021. Within just a few years, we are confident that this technology will be found in basically every car that leaves the assembly line.
How much does A-PHY technology reduce wire complexity, vehicle weight, and total system cost?
Not only is A-PHY superior to the connectivity technology currently used in automobiles, it also reduces the total cost of the system. Recently, independent benchmarking company A2MAC1 used MIPI A-PHY-based chipsets for high-resolution camera sensors and SerDes solutions, reducing overall system costs by up to 15% compared to existing proprietary solutions. We have released a report showing that. This includes a 63% reduction in wire harness and connector costs, which together make up a significant portion of the overall system cost. The report states that OEMs have the opportunity to further reduce costs by natively integrating A-PHY into image sensors.
What did you learn during the pandemic that you didn’t expect to learn? And did it bring Valence an unexpected opportunity?
I’ve focused most of my answers on the automotive market, but there is another very successful business unit called audio video. Created the HDBaseT industry standard for long reach connections, chipsets are built into all major audio and video player products.
Of course, the industry has undergone a major and accelerating transformation with COVID-19, all moving online. Video conferencing has gained an edge and has become the method of communication of choice for schools and offices around the world.
We are pleased that our video conferencing solutions have become a major focus of our audio video business. We believe that hybrid education and hybrid workplaces will stay here. Business opportunities are also expanding in additional areas such as industry, medical imaging and transportation. As such, we are bullish on both automotive and audio-video business segments.
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