The automotive industry and u-blox found each other back in sometime around 2005. It was exactly anticipated or planned, but looking back, it’s been a fantastic adventure. Since, u-blox has sold dozens of millions of positioning and communication devices to automotive Tier Ones and OEMs. The automotive industry has become one of our most important verticals, generating over a quarter of the revenue.
U-blox work with most major OEMs and have gained extensive know‑how on working successfully with the industry and an in‑depth understanding of its requirements and constraints. Now, twelve years in, it’s safe to say that it truly speaks automotive.
If the company has learnt anything, it’s that the automotive value chain is long and complex. If smart watches and Bluetooth trackers are agile speedboats, automotive OEMs are freightliners: high stakes operations where mistakes are consequential.
This understanding permeates how it works with the automotive market. While in consumer markets, product lifecycles are short, those in automotive stretch over years. Of the three years it might take to bring a new device to market, well over half goes into certification and qualification. Understandably, changes in chip and module specifications or stock‑outs are not appreciated.
Customer focus, u-blox has learnt is key to success. For them, this translates to offering products tailored to a variety of use‑cases, from classic chips to integrated, tested, and certified modules that combine multiple components, thereby shortening the value chain.
It also means that we go the extra mile to deliver superior performance. Augmented with dead reckoning technology, the NEO‑M8L module, for example, accurately detects its position even in tunnels or dense cities where standard GNSS receivers fail to deliver.
To meet the industry’s stringent demands, the company provides a complete automotive portfolio in automotive grade. As such, modules meet industry standard automotive specifications and are qualified strictly according to ISO 16949 and AEC‑Q100 and are delivered with the PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) documentation to ensure compliance with customer requirements. Because automotive applications are often mission critical, they are tested to ensure that they withstand high levels of electromagnetic interference, bumps, shocks and vibrations, and temperature extremes.
Complete qualification and failure analysis in‑house means that it can quickly and competently diagnose and address the root cause of failures. And u-blox are committed to bring down failure rates through the u‑blox zero ppm program.
It believes that close customer engagement, attention to quality, and continuous efforts to innovate have all played their part in making u-blox the market leader for automotive GNSS and a strong provider of wireless communication technology for automotive applications.
Roughly 19% of sales are invested in R&D, keeping them ahead of the game. And by offering nested designs and sticking to the same pin‑outs for successive module generations, u-blox try to make it as easy as possible for our customers to follow, helping them save time and money in the design process. The new automotive grade MAX M8Q GNSS module with an extended temperature range is a case in point.
Looking forward, it is determined to stay at the forefront of automotive technologies, as augmented reality, advanced navigation systems, and second generation V2X products take the driving experience to the next level. In particular, u-blox will deliver reliable and safe GNSS technology to enable highly automated or autonomous driving.
The automotive market has been good to u-blox for over the past 12 years, and there is commitment to return the favour.
With now over twelve years of experience working with the automotive industry, it is excited about the disruptions, challenges, and opportunities that lie just around the corner.
Guest blog written by Thomas Nigg, Senior Director Product Strategy, Product Center Positioning, u-blox.
Courtesy of u-blox.