NXP in 2017: Autonomous Vehicle Security and the Smallest 8-Pin Logic Ever

NXP recently announced their merger with Qualcomm, but they weren't done making announcements in 2016. Their focus on IoT-geared components and autonomous vehicle security reflect continuing industry trends.

Even More Acquisitions

NXP announced that their standard product line—primarily discretes, logic, and MOSFETS—will be manufactured and distributed as a new company, called Nexperia. The Standard Products division was acquired by the Chinese investment company JAC Capital, who also bought NXP's RF power division last year. Rumors and speculation have floated around for months before they made the official announcement at electronica 2016 earlier this month in Munich.


Nexperia's logo

Nexperia will be headquartered in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The new company gained 11,000 employees from NXP. It also gained five factories around the world: two front-end factories in Manchester, UK, and Hamburg, Germany, as well as three back-end factories in Guangdong, China, Seremban, Malaysia, and Cabuyao, in the Philippines.

The new company will be run by NXP's Frans Scheper, formerly the executive vice president of their Stand Products business. He will now be the CEO, but it looks like he'll be running the company he ran before, just under a new name with a new title.

It seems that they are keeping the same workforce and structure. NXP's workforce was cited as part of what made them so appealing when Qualcomm Acquired them last month. So, hopefully, this shift will be creating jobs instead of eliminating them. Despite all of the mergers and acquisitions, NXP's workforce and manufacturing plants seem to be intact for the most part.

The Smallest 8-Pin Logic Made Yet

Nexperia is looking to hit the ground running in 2017. Another big announcement made during electronica was the 8-pin version of their GX Package for logic (PDF). At .8mm wide, 1.35mm long, and .35mm deep, these chips are the smallest multi-function, 8-lead logic packages to date. The GX family has been successful due to its qualities that allow for savings on PCB assembly, namely how they don't require step down masks or type 4 solder paste. Their small size also gives more flexibility with placement in PCB design.

The GX-8 is tailored for smaller designs like wearable, mobile, and IoT devices. Nexperia will look to continue the GX series' success as they kick off in the beginning of 2017. The Standard Products division was already producing over 70 billion devices a year. That number should only increase as they expand further into the Chinese market.


A graphic of the GX-8. If not a graphic, then the person who drew the schematics in the background has the world's smallest handwriting. Image courtesy of NXP.

Focus on Security for Autonomous Vehicles

NXP has been through enough mergers and acquisitions over the past few years to make our heads spin. So when all the dust settles, what will NXP as we know it, be doing? Their other divisions will still be operating under the NXP name, even if they're owned by Qualcomm, and used to be Phillips, and Freescale fits in there somewhere... and we can't forget their other recent acquisitions.
In their electronica announcements, NXP has put significant emphasis on autonomous vehicles and security for connected cars and other vehicles. Security for autonomous vehicles has been a hot topic in the wake of recent DDOS attacks and demonstrations of people hacking autonomous vehicles. Kurt Sievers, the head of NXP's automotive division, emphasized the need to balance connectivity and security in his presentation at the opening of electronica:
Electronica’s ‘connected worlds – safe and secure’ theme is on target with the industry’s focus.
Security becomes even more crucial with autonomous semi trucks, which NXP is working toward. Besides having more potential for injury and destruction in collisions, semis also run a higher risk of security compromises because of their valuable payloads. Below is a video presentation NXP made for their "Smart Connected Vehicle" systems.


Looking Forward

NXP hopes to tackle the challenges of safe and secure autonomous vehicles with help from full access to Cohda Wireless' algorithms for V2X development. Once again, NXP is joining forces with other companies to speed up the development process for designers. They're even part of an open alliance for developing digital LED products for automotive applications called the "Open ISELED Alliance", which includes members such as, TE Connectivity, Inova Semiconductors, Dominant Opto Technologies, and Pforzheim University. All this collaboration to make designers' lives easier makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

We'll have to wait and see if 2017 brings this idea of a collaborative industry into reality—and whether it will continue this trend of putting the needs of designers first.
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