Microchip acquires VSI to extend automotive networking

11th April 2024
Harry Fowle

Microchip has announced the completed acquisition of Seoul, Korea-based VSI, a provider of high-speed, asymmetric, camera, sensor and display connectivity technologies and products based on the Automotive SerDes Alliance (ASA) open standard for in-vehicle networking (IVN). The terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

The market size of automotive radar, camera and LiDAR modules is expected to grow by greater than two times between 2022 to 2028 to $27B in revenue, according to Yole Group. This anticipated growth is driven by the increased adoption of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), in-cabin monitoring, safety and convenience features (e.g., 360-degree surround view, e-mirrors) and multi-screen digital cockpits for next-generation software-defined vehicles (SDV). These applications will require more highly asymmetric raw data and video links and higher bandwidths, making current, proprietary serialiser/deserialiser (SerDes) based solutions no longer adequate, both commercially and technically. In response to these developments, the Automotive SerDes Alliance (ASA) was formed in 2019 and released the first open-standard ASA Motion Link (ASA-ML) specifications.

“This acquisition brings VSI’s knowledgeable team, their market traction and ASA Motion Link technologies and products to Microchip’s expansive automotive networking portfolio to better serve the ADAS megatrend we are focused on,” said Mitch Obolsky, senior vice president of Microchip’s automotive products, networking, and data centre business units. “As the industry converges around three primary IVN pillars – Ethernet, PCIe and ASA Motion Link, camera and display connectivity is one of the fastest growing and largest IVN markets. With VSI, Microchip can now offer products that span all three pillars and also provide automotive security, microcontrollers, motor control, touch and power management solutions to our customers to enable their next-generation software-defined vehicle architectures.”

Today, ASA has over 145 members, including Microchip who is a promoter member. With 11 automotive manufacturers including BMW, GM, Ford, Stellantis and Hyundai-Kia Motors Corporation, the Alliance also includes an ecosystem ranging from Tier 1 suppliers, semiconductor and imager vendors, to test and compliance houses. In addition to being an open standard, ASA-ML brings link layer security and scalability to support 2 Gbps to 16 Gbps line rates. Furthermore, the upcoming specification update will enable ASA-ML to support Ethernet-based architectures.

“Microchip Technology is an established and trusted market leader in automotive networking known for their automotive quality and robust supply chain, and our team is excited to join them to address the growing ADAS and digital cockpit connectivity market,” said Steve Kang, CEO of VSI Co. Ltd. “VSI is a leader in the development of ASA-ML products and was the first to introduce products to the market. Our standards-compliant chipsets are being evaluated by car manufacturers worldwide. We recently collaborated with BMW in a proof of concept to showcase ASA-ML and our product readiness. This acquisition brings together two organisations with a shared commitment to advancing technology through innovation. We look forward to successfully deploying our solutions in production vehicles for years to come."

In March 2024, BMW Group announced at the Automotive Ethernet Congress in Munich they would shift to using standardised ASA-ML for upcoming start of productions. BMW has always been at the forefront of in-vehicle networking innovation and strongly believes in leveraging standardised technologies in their vehicle architectures and now also their video architecture.

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