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Bosch helps to cultivate start-up technology for future IoT microchips

As new mobility, sensors and IoT electronics bring new demands, Bosch is partnering to develop more innovative and impactful semiconductor-centric solutions

  • To foster semiconductor-centric innovations, Bosch is now a strategic ecosystem partner with Silicon Catalyst, an incubator for semiconductor startups.
  • Bosch has been developing and manufacturing semiconductors for more than 45 years.
  • Automation, connectivity and electrification are fueling growth in automotive semiconductors.
  • Bosch is building a 300mm wafer-fab in Dresden (Germany) to strengthen its leadership.
Tim Wieland

Tim Wieland >


Plymouth, Mich. and Silicon Valley – In order to facilitate innovation and bring its expertise in semiconductor manufacturing and validation, Bosch has become a strategic ecosystem partner with Silicon Catalyst, a global start-up incubator headquartered in Silicon Valley focused exclusively on semiconductor-centric innovations and solutions. Through this collaboration, Bosch engages with early stage, innovative startups focused on creating higher performing, intelligent and power-efficient solutions in silicon targeting future mobility, sensing and IoT applications.

We are extremely pleased to be working with Bosch, as they are an industry leader bringing together comprehensive expertise in vehicle technology and offering complete mobility solutions that include hardware, software and services," said Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst. "The number of connected vehicles on the road is greatly increasing, creating unique opportunities for innovation, especially for semiconductor solutions."

The Silicon Catalyst ecosystem includes industry-leading companies as in-kind partners, expert advisors and investors specialized in semiconductors. The focus is guiding advancements in silicon from idea to prototype to product. Already more than 250 startup companies have engaged with Silicon Catalyst since April 2015.

Semiconductors - the heart of IoT and mobility

At the heart of new mobility, IoT and sensing technologies is an unsung hero-semiconductors. They are vital core components of all electronic and sensor systems. In the vehicle, semiconductors empower automation, connectivity and electrification advancements. In IoT, semiconductors improve the consumer experience for connected devices by enabling longer battery life.

Bosch has been developing and manufacturing semiconductors for more than 45 years. The supplier of technology and services is responsible for numerous innovations in semiconductors. This includes inventing the deep reactive-ion etching (DRIE) process, now more commonly known worldwide as the "Bosch process." Bosch has nurtured its expertise since, continuously improving its manufacturing process performance to become today the undisputed leader in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors design and production.

"Bosch is the only company equally at home in the automotive and semiconductor industries", said Tim Frasier, regional president of Automotive Electronics for Bosch in North America. "We have an unrivaled track record for deploying holistic automotive-grade solutions and applying our knowledge across adjacent markets."

Going beyond Moore's Law with more intelligent and power-efficient silicon solutions

In order to support a sustainable growth of semiconductor applications into the future, technology node advancements are no longer sufficient. In fact, the physical limit is being reached and semiconductors can no longer just get smaller. The semiconductor must become more intelligent and efficient.

"Our rich history in semiconductors makes Bosch an ideal business partner that can help to materialize and industrialize new ideas for those technologies," Frasier said. "The pace of innovation especially in mobility and IoT applications can't be tackled singlehandedly. A dedicated and strong ecosystem for the development of new semiconductor solutions is what we sought and found with Silicon Catalyst."

Standard bearer for semiconductors in automotive

Within the global semiconductor market, applications for mobility are set to increase, driven by advancements in automation, electrification and connectivity. The global automotive semiconductor market was nearly $35 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at more than eight percent per year from 2018 until 2027, according to Research & Markets. By 2027, the market will be worth nearly $77 billion globally.

Bosch has been applying its semiconductor expertise to vehicles since the 1970's, resulting in numerous smart applications for vehicles. Bosch holds over 1,500 patents and patent applications for engineering and manufacturing its semiconductors. In fact, every vehicle newly registered worldwide in 2016 had an average of more than nine Bosch chips on board.

For automotive use in particular, semiconductors must be able to withstand stresses such as strong vibrations and extreme temperatures for a vehicle's entire lifetime. Bosch uniquely understands the higher standards for development of automotive applications. It is especially about understanding the physical principles at work.

Bosch's current semiconductor portfolio focuses on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and power semiconductors and modules. Demand for higher functional integration will ensure more semiconductors with increasingly complex features.

  • Power semiconductors and modules are for instance at the heart of every hybrid or electric vehicle to transfer power from the battery to the electrical motors. Looking ahead, silicon carbide (SiC) power switches open new technical opportunities for better performance and greater range for electric vehicles.
  • ASICs are integrated circuits tailored to a particular application thus enabling high functional integration and highly optimized performance vs. costs.
  • Bosch MEMS are the sensory organs of modern vehicles. They supply a vehicle¡¦s ECUs with important information regarding its handling, such as if the vehicle is braking or accelerating, or if it is skidding on a smooth road surface. The ESP electronic stability program uses this information to keeps cars, trucks, and even motorcycles safely on track and in their lanes.

Beyond automotive - semiconductors as a key enabler for IoT and consumer applications

Bosch semiconductors have applications that extend far beyond the world of vehicles. Bosch MEMS-based sensors can be found in more than half the world's smartphones, and are indispensable for fitness trackers, drones, game consoles, and smart home applications. When it comes to MEMS sensors, Bosch is both a pioneer and the world's leading manufacturer.

One billion euros for one of the most advanced wafer fabs

Bosch is underpinning its growth strategy for semiconductors with the single largest investment in the company's history: it is putting some one billion euros into a new wafer fab in Dresden. Following a rollout phase, pilot manufacturing operations are expected to start at the end of 2021. Up to 700 associates will be involved in the highly automated manufacturing process, working to plan, manage, and monitor production. After Reutlingen, the Dresden plant will be Bosch's second wafer fab in Germany. With it, the company aims to expand its manufacturing capacity, and thus to further boost its competitive edge in global markets.

About Silicon Catalyst

It’s About What’s NextTM - Silicon Catalyst is the world’s only incubator focused exclusively on accelerating solutions in silicon, building a coalition of in-kind and strategic partners to dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of development. Over 250 startup companies have engaged with Silicon Catalyst since April 2015, with a total of 18 startup companies admitted to the incubator. With a world-class network of mentors to advise startups, Silicon Catalyst is helping startups address challenges moving from idea to realization. The incubator/accelerator supplies startups with a path to design tools, silicon devices, networking, access to funding and marketing acumen to successfully launch their companies’ novel technology solutions. Silicon Catalyst was the recipient of the prestigious 2015 ACE Award for Start-Up Company of the Year. Visit Silicon Catalyst at

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