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The Computer Architecture of Tomorrow’s Vehicle: Driven by Processing, Software & Sensors

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The Cowen Insight

The next-generation vehicle architecture will be defined by high-performance processing and upgradable software previously only seen in services, with a suite of advanced sensors serving as a conduit to the environment. Leveraging our work on electrification and edge computing, we dive into this new architecture and how value in the mobility space will be created and captured in the next decade+.

The Mobility Industry Is at an Inflection

The automotive industry is in the midst of two simultaneous, but connected, transformations: electrification and intelligence/autonomy. Catalyzed by the electric vehicle transition, the computing architecture of tomorrow’ vehicles will center on AI processing, a robust sensor suite, and upgradable software ecosystems. Semiconductors (both traditional and compound semis) are the critical components driving innovation in both intelligence/automation and electrification domains.

There Are Multiple Opportunities to Benefit Society…And to Monetize Tomorrow’s Vehicle

The social benefits and monetization opportunities from improved safety, reduced traffic, and real-time data collection are just now beginning to be understood and leveraged. This includes creative business models for insurance rate optimization and OEM-to-consumer insurance, in-car entertainment and advertising, and crowd-sourcing of automotive camera data from millions of vehicles on the road in real-time.

Scope of This Report

We dive deep into processing, sensing, and software technologies that will enable the next generation of intelligent, safe, increasingly autonomous, and fully programmable vehicles. In our view, the intelligent vehicle of tomorrow is an acute example of how the emergence of edge computing can disrupt massive and entrenched industries (see our edge computing deep dive: Livin’ on the Edge II). We believe this report can be used to help investors contextualized the rapidly evolving architecture of the vehicle and how technology companies are increasingly capturing value within the broader mobility industry.

In fact, we hope this deep dive into autonomous vehicle computing can be utilized in conjunction with Cowen’s Future of Mobility Primer to provide a comprehensive picture of the rapidly changing automotive technology industry.

Multiple Proprietary Forecasts – Compute, Radar, Lidar

To help quantify the opportunities, we provide new market forecasts based off our electric vehicle model for: ADAS adoption, processing, image sensors, radar and lidar.