Hyundai Mobis, the component arm of Hyundai Motor Group, was in talks with South Korean fabless chip and design house companies to develop its own automobile semiconductor, TheElec has learned.
The project is called ES Project internally. ES stands for Eui-sun, the first name of Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Eui-sun.
As the project is named after its group’s leader, Hyundai Mobis will likely give the project its all to ensure it is a success, sources told TheElec.
Hyundai Mobis has already signed NDAs with companies that could be or are involved in the project.
It has also signed NDAs with people involved in the project.
Hyundai will be asking for specification and function it wants from its chips. The selected company will be designing the chip according to the order.
This is similar to how Tesla is using Samsung System LSI to develop its custom system-on-a-chip (SoC).
Hyundai will seek to develop chips for infotainment first. Then it will move to more sophisticated chips such as microcontroller unit, power management IC and those for advanced drivers’ assistance systems.
ES Project is led by vice president Kim Tae-woo, who previously worked at a South Korean semiconductor conglomerate.
Kim joined Hyundai Mobis in December 2019, and headed the connectivity and acoustic team.
This is not the first time Hyundai has attempted to develop its own chips. In 2012, the group formed Hyundai Autron to develop its own semiconductors. This failed to yield results and Autron was merged with Hyundai Mobis in December last year.