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Intel Automotive – Intelligence on the Road

Intel Automotive – Intelligence on the Road

On this episode of The Six Five – In the Booth, hosts Daniel Newman and Patrick Moorhead welcome Jack Weast, Vice President and GM for Intel Automotive at CES 2024. They discuss Intel’s automotive announcements that were made during CES and how AI is coming to the vehicle.

Their discussion covers:

  • Intel’s ambitious growth plans in the automotive space
  • The silicon needs of a modern vehicle and why Intel’s offerings may interest automakers
  • What prompted Intel to get involved on the power management side of the automotive industry
  • Chiplet need and Intel’s solution to the car chip crunch

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Transcript:

Patrick Moorhead: The Six Five is live here at CES 2024. We are in the Intel Automotive suite here. Dan, this show has been rocking. I mean, whether it’s AI PCs, automotive in AI, and as you say, AI, AI, AI, AI?

Daniel Newman: Well, I just have said that if you want to be one of these really great prognosticators for ’24, you can say what trends will be big in tech. And then you could come up with this great list, and one AI, two AI, three AI. But the truth is AI is kind of horizontal, right?

Patrick Moorhead: Sure.

Daniel Newman: So it’s kind of overlaying things. So it’s things like wearables with AI, automotive with AI, PCs with AI. And then when you start to say that, it starts to sound a little less silly and a little bit more practical, which is what’s going on here at the first big event of 2024, which is CES, but good to be here.

Patrick Moorhead: Exactly. And automotive, as we’ve seen, and The Six Five has been coming to CES the past three years. I think this is my 20th, maybe, but Six Five has been here for three. You laughed there.

Daniel Newman: I like to do age jokes.

Patrick Moorhead: Okay. No, that’s okay. We’re good. You’ve done a few of those on. And everybody laughed and thought it was funny. I think it’s funny too. But anyways, automotive has become a huge hit here so far at the show. And quite frankly, for the last 10 years, automotive has been a huge part of CES. One company, as you could probably see in the back, is Intel has been an automotive for literally decades. And they’re bringing out a new strategy, a new offering, and it’s getting… Everybody is talking about this right now. And with that, I’d like to introduce Jack from Intel. Great to see you.

Jack Weast: Thank you, Pat. Great to see you as well.

Patrick Moorhead: First time on Six Five. We appreciate you coming on the show.

Jack Weast: Happy to be here. I’m thrilled.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, Jack, it’s good to have you here. Really interesting week. So you have come out with a bang, a new automotive strategy coming from Intel. And of course, a lot of people have watched. Intel, still, is the largest shareholder in Mobileye. But when that decision to spin off Mobileye was made, there were some thoughts as, what’s Intel’s future in automotive? Will the company stay committed to it? Of course, you are here to tell us what’s going on with that, because it doesn’t only look like the company is staying committed, it looks like it’s kind of reintroducing itself in a really significant way into the automotive space with some pretty big plans. Talk a little bit about what’s being announced this week in the company’s plans in automotive overall.

Jack Weast: Absolutely right. And our ambitions in automotive are even larger than when we were the sole owner of Mobileye. Going through that process with some soul-searching, when we spun them out, it was an opportunity for us to sit back and think about, what challenges is the industry facing beyond just ADAS? And how can Intel help?

And with Pat Gelsinger’s new IDM 2.0 strategy built around flexible leadership products, based on open platforms, supported by a globally balanced, resilient supply chain, these three pillars of our new corporate strategy matched exactly what the automotive industry needs. And so we saw a fantastic match for our strengths, our expertise, our experience for an opportunity to reboot. What is Intel Automotive? And how can we help the industry solve some of its biggest challenges?

Patrick Moorhead: So Jack, I’ve heard you talk about bringing the AI PC to automotive. I think that’s a really good analogy. And I think we’ve also been talking about, probably since the advent of Tesla, which was the software-defined vehicle out there, let’s talk now though, which is 2024 and beyond, what are the needs of the modern automakers related to silicon that you’ve identified? By the way, you and I talked, I don’t know, nine months ago, six months ago, about this in Florida. There was a lot of conversations. Hey, our customers want us to make an aggressive entry, or not, reentry into this market. So what are they telling you? What are their needs?

Jack Weast: That’s a great question. What they’re telling us is, frankly, they just weren’t satisfied with a lot of the options that were out there. There’s some nice high-end solutions that don’t scale low, some nice low-end solutions that don’t scale high. And so what we saw was an opportunity to bring performance, scalability, top to bottom to an entire vehicle lineup, and do what we call software-defined done right. So not only do we bring AI to the car from the AI PC, but when you consolidate workloads, you need a silicon foundation like the one that we’ve built for 20 plus years in the data center that support multiple different workloads from different operating systems running all at the same time on the same piece of silicon.

But the trick is you can’t do that just at the high end. To truly be scalable, top to bottom, an automaker needs a single solution that can scale from their lowest-segment vehicle all the way to the premium segment. And that’s why, this week, why we announced that not only are we going to be the first supplier to deliver a chiplet-based product to the automotive industry, we’re also going to be the first supplier to allow our customers to put their own chiplet inside of our roadmap product. And so with a disaggregated chiplet-based approach, they can get that top-to-bottom scalability and dial up or down the capabilities they need in their product. And the feedback we’ve gotten from that has been phenomenal.

Daniel Newman: So performance sounds like it’s a big focus, and you’re working towards having performance from low to high, which, of course, we’ve seen a lot of building-block approaches. And then there’s been black-box approaches. It sounds like you’re going a little bit more of the building-block where you can help these OEMs to really reinvent themselves. I mean, that’s what’s going on right now, these companies. And you’ve seen some of them have tried to do it themselves, and they’re kind of coming back. And it sounds like maybe some of those companies are coming back to you saying, “We need a partner in this thing.”

And so having performance is important. But power management is also very important because part of the whole electrification, part of the whole moving to ADAS is, it’s about safety, it’s about performance, it’s also about sustainability. And so Intel always focuses on sustainability and power when they talk about their data center solutions, when they talk about their PC solutions. Well, this is the PC on wheels. It sounds like in a little bit of what I’ve heard is that this is also a big part of your story. Talk a little bit about the power management story here and how Intel plans to use what it’s done in other parts of the business to lead its automotive strategy around power management.

Jack Weast: Yeah. I mean, the industry is basically headed towards a sustainability brick wall. If you chart out availability of supply, even to build the amount of batteries we’re going to need for these electric vehicles, there’s just a huge gap today, and it just gets even bigger. And so we can sit around and hope for a breakthrough in battery technology, or we can start to focus on the efficiency side of the equation, which is what we did, 20 plus years ago, when we introduced mobile PC computers. I worked on those early in my career. And these were desktop PC boards put on its side with the battery attached. The battery life was terrible. It was 20 pounds in weight. And we realized that, when you have a platform that’s designed to run at full power all the time because it’s designed to plug into the wall, it’s not the most energy-efficient solution.

So industry standards like ACPI we created to be able to more intelligently manage energy in the PC platform. And that’s how we get the battery life that we have for even more powerful computers today. Well, in the automotive space and the electric vehicles in particular, that vehicle platform was designed to run behind an internal combustion engine, an energy source that even when it’s idling, you’ve got so much energy to go around, there’s no point in power managing the electrical components that are inside the vehicle. So we’re just going to bring these same proven and used concepts from the IT industry, apply it to vehicle platform, and we were thrilled to announce this week with SAE that we’ll be chairing a new work group to bring those concepts to the automotive industry.

Patrick Moorhead: So I want to bring up chiplets. So first of all, it makes total sense. By the way, I love the IP that your customers can bring in a chiplet. In a way, I mean, I feel like I’ve been promoting that, or not promoting it but talking about the benefits of that for a long time, and chiplets are just a very elegant way to be able to do that. You solved a lot of problems with Foveros, as an example. But do chiplets help with the more and more chips being consumed overall in a car? Is there a way that chiplets can help with, I’ll call it, silicon sprawl, for lack of a better term?

Jack Weast: Yeah, they certainly can help from an integration and consolidation standpoint because rather than having to have full, discreet, monolithic designs everywhere throughout the car, you can take just the elements of that monolithic design that are relevant, put that on a chiplet, and integrate that into a larger system where you already have a powerful CPU, GPU, and other IO components. So if you think about the silicon footprint in a car, think about how much of that silicon footprint is duplicated. It’s the same IO blocks talking to the same communications buses. So when you consolidate, not only do you get efficiencies in terms of consolidation scale from a software standpoint, but absolutely, that would extend to silicon footprint as well.

Daniel Newman: Well, Jack, it’s been great to hear a little bit about where the company is. And of course, congratulations.

Jack Weast: Thank you.

Daniel Newman: It’s been a pretty fast pivot because you guys made the decision, did the spin-off, and like I said, you’re still heavily invested there. But now, you’ve got two plays, and you’ve been able to reestablish and seemingly win some early confidence in the market. How does this evolve? We know the companies that you’re partnering with, for instance, putting their chiplet inside of your software can give them an advantage to move quicker. What do you see maybe in a year when we’re sitting here again? What are we talking about?

Jack Weast: Yeah, it’s super interesting to think about because, for sure, if we think even just this decade, this industry is going to look completely different by the end of this decade than it does today. And so we start thinking about a year or two from now. I think the thing that stands out to me is, I think a year from now, we’re going to be talking about how the automotive industry is moving to an IT-like design lifecycle, where instead of taking four to five years to design a vehicle, you’re going to have automakers doing it in 12, 18 months, and getting on that leading node consumer silicon cadence, which I think will not only bring great benefits for consumers, but it’s going to completely transform the industry and the opportunities for a company like Intel. And so that’s why we think this is absolutely one of our best growth opportunities we’ve got for our company and a perfect match for our new IDM 2.0 strategy.

Daniel Newman: So Jack, what is the foundational sort of first run of technology look like?

Jack Weast: Well, as we announced this week, we’re launching our brand-new first-generation line of software-defined vehicle SoCs. So this is an amazing combination of the AI PC from an in-vehicle experience standpoint with proven-in-use, silicon-enforced virtualization capabilities for workload consolidation in the vehicle. It’s a family of different products. They’ll start commercially shipping later this year, and as we announced with Zeekr, our first OEM already committing to use the design. And stay tuned for more later this year.

Daniel Newman: Excellent. Well, Jack, I want to thank you so much for sitting down with us here at CES, a very strong start to the story, to the business. I look forward to following, I’m sure Pat does too, hearing about design wins, hearing about where Intel lands. Of course, you’re strategically in the background working with a lot of the automotives and the OEMs. In CES, we love to hear the wins, seeing the designs, and then, of course, experiencing, like you see in this demo room here, getting to experience the technology in real time. We’re also both car guys, so it doesn’t hurt, but thanks so much for sitting down with us.

Jack Weast: My pleasure, guys. Great to be here with you as well.

Daniel Newman: Thanks. All right, everybody, we are here at CES 2024 in the booth, inside the Automotive Demo suite at Intel’s Experience. That’s a lot. That’s a mouthful. But it’s a great experience. If you’re here at the show, and you happen to catch it, stop on by if you can get in, and check out all the stuff that they’re doing. But for this episode of The Six Five, for Patrick Moorhead and myself, we’ve got to say goodbye. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you all later.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.

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