The two autodealers have formed a joint venture partnership to focus on the future of semiconductors for autonomous cars. The new business is expected to open next year. (Image credit: Robert Hradil via Getty Images)


Toyota is gearing up to expand their business to include manufacturing semiconductors. The carmaker recently partnered with auto supplier Denso to form a new company that will focus on chip manufacture. Denso will own 51% of the new company, with Toyota owning the remainder, the companies said in a joint statement. They hope to establish the company in April 2020 with a capitalization of 50 million yen ($458,968) and about 500 employees.


“Electronic controls have been increasingly implemented into vehicles. Furthermore, the number of in-vehicle semiconductors has also grown, and the performance of these semiconductors has continuously improved. To create a future of mobility that is safe and sustainable, it is necessary to develop next-generation semiconductors that are integral to technology innovations, such as connected cars, automated driving, sharing mobility and electrification,” Denso stated.


The new company will focus on next-generation semiconductors for the automotive industry and for self-driving cars in particular. They’ll conduct advanced research on the basic structure and processing method of next-generation semiconductors as well as develop electronic components by implementing semiconductors, like power modules for electric vehicles and periphery monitoring sensors for automated vehicles.


Denso, who owns 24 percent of Toyota, is no stranger to supplying electrical components for both Toyota and Lexus. The two companies decided to consolidate their production of electronic components last year. Denso and Toyota have worked together before to form the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) for self-driving technology.


With self-driving cars becoming more commonplace, having the best components and sensors is key. Autonomous cars not only need high-grade sensors to navigate traffic, but they’re necessary when it comes to communication between cars, traffic lights, and other traffic control systems. These sensors are also essential when it comes to vehicle safety. But Toyota will have some steep competition since Intel and Nvidia are the leading providers of advanced computer systems for autonomous vehicles.


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