Toyota, DENSO launch semiconductor joint venture

Toyota, Denso launch semiconductor joint venture
Toyota Motor Corp. and its auto parts maker DENSO Corporation will set up a joint venture to develop semiconductor-based technologies for next-generation electric and autonomous vehicles. (Kyodo)

Two companies well known in the automotive business—Toyota Motor Corp. and its auto parts maker DENSO Corporation—announced they will set up a joint venture next April to develop semiconductors for next-generation technologies to be used in electric and autonomous vehicles.

The new company, to be called MIRISE Technologies, will conduct research and advanced development of in-vehicle semiconductors, which are believed to "play a key role in technology innovation for electric vehicles and automated driving vehicles," the partnering companies said in a statement.

MIRISE will reportedly work on three technology development fields: (1) power electronics, (2) sensing, and (3) SoC (System-on-a-Chip). In the power electronics field, the company will work on R&D mainly for in-house production (including contract manufacturing) by leveraging the semiconductor material technologies as well as manufacturing and design technologies accumulated by Toyota and DENSO in electrification technologies, mainly in hybrid vehicles. In the sensing field, the company will work on development for in-house production and cooperation with joint development partners. In the SoC field, the company will strengthen its ability to determine the specifications of optimal SoCs for mobility in the future.

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The venture will be headquartered in central Japan's Aichi Prefecture with about 500 employees, and will seek cooperation with universities, research institutes and startups while recruiting semiconductor engineers, the companies said.

The new company will be funded at 50 million yen ($460,000), with DENSO holding a 51 percent stake and Toyota taking the remainder. Current DENSO senior executive Yoshifumi Kato will become MIRISE’s president.

The announcement is the latest in a series of moves by automotive and electronics companies to address technology development for next-generation vehicles.

According to a report on Japan news daily The Mainichi, Hitachi Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. said in October they will merge four auto parts suppliers under a new firm to respond to the emergence of autonomous and electric vehicles.

Also, The Mainichi reported earlier this month that Nissan Motor Co., Renault SA, and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. agreed to set up a new company to jointly develop advanced technologies for next-generation vehicles with a focus on studying artificial intelligence.

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