May you inform us just a little about Valens Semiconductor, when it entered the automotive {industry}, the form the corporate is in right this moment, your clients, and your goals for the following 12 months? 

Based in 2006, Valens is a number one supplier of semiconductor merchandise for the evolving and rising automotive and audio-video markets. Our standard-setting know-how is deployed by main corporations in functions the place efficiency and price are important. Earlier this 12 months, in September 2021, Valens was listed on the New York Inventory Trade, marking an necessary milestone in our company journey and giving us the market endorsement we would have liked to speed up our development.

We push the boundaries of connectivity by enabling long-reach, high-speed video and knowledge transmission. Our chipsets transmit video and knowledge at industry-leading multi-gigabit bandwidth over long-reach, space-efficient wiring infrastructure, guaranteeing error-free hyperlinks with zero latency – all on the lowest whole system value.

Our merchandise are already on the highway in autos world wide, powering the state-of-the-art MBUX infotainment programs of Mercedes-Benz fashions. Our know-how was chosen because the baseline for the MIPI A-PHY customary for in-vehicle excessive pace, long-reach sensor connectivity. The A-PHY ecosystem is rising at a quick tempo, with corporations like Mobileye, Sony, Sunny Optical, and LG Innotek all publicly saying assist for A-PHY, and lots of extra integrating it into their product roadmaps.

Because the market chief, Valens is the primary firm to introduce MIPI A-PHY compliant chipsets, and we imagine this can mark an necessary milestone within the transformation of in-vehicle connectivity for vehicles all world wide.

Why did you select PTK and what alternatives has the SPAC merger created?

PTK Acquisition Corp was considered one of quite a few SPAC corporations that had been focusing on a secure enterprise, with revolutionary know-how and a compelling and profitable development story. PTK has in depth operational and funding expertise within the {hardware} and semiconductor industries, and the administration group has a observe file of leveraging international market relationships to faucet into synergies throughout the electronics and automotive worth chain. So for us, it was a pure match.

We perceive that Valens is forecasting robust development in revenues between now and 2026. What’s behind this?

Valens operates in a quick and rising market and the Addressable Markets we function in are anticipated to succeed in $9 billion by 2026.

We’re centered extensively on MIPI A-PHY. Engineering samples of the primary A-PHY compliant chipsets –the VA70XX household – are anticipated to be launched quickly to pick out potential clients and companions, and we imagine that they may make an enormous splash within the {industry}. Many corporations have expressed curiosity in A-PHY, and in our chips particularly, and we’re assured that they may result in further buyer wins. We’ve set ourselves formidable however achievable targets, and I imagine we’re well-positioned to succeed in them. 

ADAS is a fast-evolving panorama. Whereas we’re seeing an acceleration of degree 1 and a couple of driving automation, there are delays in increased ranges because of the lack of a longtime regulatory framework and the technical problem of offering security in all driving conditions. When it comes to Stage 2+ for vehicles shortly, how do you see the market evolving? 

With out touching the regulatory points, that are certainly important however outdoors of our realm of authority, the automotive {industry} might want to make actual technological enhancements if it desires to “degree up”, each in high quality and amount of sensors to boost passenger security. These are a few of the important hurdles that the {industry} should clear already for the extent 2 and degree 3 vehicles, and positively for the complete deployment of autonomous autos, in addition to for the software-defined autos of the long run:

  • Zero latency – automation requires flawless communication between totally different programs throughout the car, together with each sensor-to-ECU in addition to ECU-to-ECU. As extra options and functions are added, vehicles should compute and switch extra knowledge, which causes important delays. In eventualities the place safety-critical selections have to be made inside fractions of a second, this can lead to extreme – even deadly – penalties.
  • Excessive bandwidth connectivity – Linked vehicles should always talk in real-time, repeatedly processing and streaming knowledge from the car’s surroundings and its inner programs. It’s only a matter of time earlier than vehicles will generate and eat terabytes of information per day – an quantity of information that may undoubtedly require excessive bandwidth to assist it. The sheer vary of computing platforms and knowledge to be processed makes it troublesome to combine autonomous driving programs that may talk effectively throughout the car, which is why high-bandwidth transmission shall be indispensable in ushering in self-driving vehicles.
  • Error-free transmission – In an effort to transfer onto the upper ranges of autonomous driving, vehicles should be capable of transmit knowledge from increased decision cameras, next-generation radars, and so forth. This requires a lot increased bandwidth – 8-16Gbps and past – which might additionally open up the wiring infrastructure to errors. Subsequently, guaranteeing the automotive wiring infrastructure can transmit excessive bandwidth with zero errors is a crucial step in direction of reaching the following ranges of autonomous driving.

Upgrading in-car connectivity infrastructure will pave the highway for the following phases of evolution in autonomous driving and software-defined autos.

The connectivity customary gaining {industry} momentum is A-PHY. Why is A-PHY the gold customary for in-vehicle connectivity?

The automotive {industry} wants a standardized answer that may assure zero-latency, error-free, high-speed communications within the car. Although there has lengthy been competitors in direction of implementing a typical automotive connectivity answer, A-PHY is main the way in which each in maturity, market ecosystem and technological superiority.

A-PHY compliant chipsets can assist 2-16 Gbps over 10-15 meters of cabling, with a highway map to 24-48+ Gbps — greater than sufficient to cope with the very difficult bandwidth necessities of present and future sensors know-how. These high-speed hyperlinks are virtually proof against electromagnetic noise, guaranteeing error-free hyperlinks between parts.

Moreover, many OEMs are within the means of evaluating A-PHY, sensor corporations similar to Sony have already dedicated to integrating A-PHY into their product traces, and suppliers similar to Mobileye have publicly said that they may assist A-PHY of their next-generation merchandise.

Valens’ know-how was chosen because the baseline for the MIPI A-PHY, the brand new international automotive video connectivity customary launched in 2020. Earlier this 12 months, the famend IEEE standardization physique in the end adopted A-PHY as considered one of its requirements. The choice of Valens’ know-how places us far forward of the curve by enabling us to supply the primary MIPI A-PHY compliant chipsets in the marketplace. As I discussed, we can have engineering samples accessible for purchasers by the tip of 2021, so this customary is effectively on its option to changing into a actuality within the {industry}. Inside just some years, I’m assured that you simply’ll see this know-how in mainly each automotive leaving the meeting line.

To what extent does A-PHY know-how scale back wire complexity, car weight and whole system prices?

Not solely is A-PHY superior to any connectivity know-how getting used right this moment in vehicles, nevertheless it additionally lowers whole system prices. Not too long ago, impartial benchmarking agency A2MAC1 launched a report exhibiting that utilizing MIPI A-PHY-based chipsets for higher-resolution digicam sensors and SerDes options would lead to a complete system value discount of as much as 15%, relative to present proprietary options. This features a 63% discount in wire harness and connector prices, which collectively kind a good portion of the whole system value. The report said that there are additional value discount alternatives for OEMs ensuing from the native integration of A-PHY into picture sensors. 

What did you be taught in the course of the pandemic that you simply didn’t anticipate to be taught? And did it open surprising alternatives for Valens?

I’ve centered most of my solutions on the automotive market, however I need to say, now we have a complete different enterprise unit – Audio-Video – that could be very profitable. We have now created the HDBaseT {industry} customary for long-reach connectivity, and our chipsets are embedded within the merchandise of all main Audio-Video gamers.

In fact, that {industry} underwent an enormous and accelerated transformation as a consequence of COVID-19, with every thing shifting on-line. Video conferencing gained supremacy, and it has turn into the communication methodology of alternative in colleges and workplaces world wide.

We’re completely satisfied to notice that our video-conferencing options grew to become a significant focus for our Audio-Video enterprise. We imagine that hybrid training and the hybrid office shall be right here to remain. We’re additionally seeing enterprise alternatives rising in further verticals similar to Industrial, Medical Imaging and Transportation. So we’re bullish about each of our enterprise segments – automotive and audio-video.