Published on December 29th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, Mazda & Honda Working Together On Japanese Chip Tech

ASRA is the new body that most Japanese car companies have decided to work together on for chips.

Decades ago, the Japanese semiconductor industry, just like their automotive industry was untouchable. Then with the end of the cold war came the lost decades and the decline of chip manufacturing in Japan. Instead Taiwan and other countries became hubs for chip design and fabrication.

With the current state of geopolitics and technological advancements, Japan sees a chance to revive this industry. Earlier this month, the Advanced SoC Research for Automotive (ASRA) body was created to conduct research and develop high-performance digital semiconductors, or Systems on Chip for use in automobiles.

Interestingly, ASRA’s members consists of every major Japanese car company, including bitter rivals. There’s Toyota, Subaru and Mazda, who are all bound to each other. However, Honda is also on board where they normally stay independent. Another surprising addition is Nissan Motor Corporation whose alliance with Renault sometimes keeps them out of major cross-brand cooperation in Japan.

Besides the automotive brands, many Japanese electrical component manufacturers are on board as well. The list includes:

  • Panasonic Automotive Systems Co., Ltd
  • Cadence Design Systems, Japan
  • MIRISE Technologies Corporation
  • Renesas Electronics Corporation
  • Socionext Inc
  • Synopsys Japan

ASRA will create mass-production SoCs for automobiles by 2030, which will be important for Japan as 1,000 semiconductors go into each vehicle and they’re getting more complex as more features are added. When autonomous driving technology advances, these SoCs will be absolutely essential. The pandemic and the semiconductor shortage that followed showed Japanese companies just how painful it can be when they don’t have more control over this aspect of their business.

Supply Shortage

By owning the technology and production, ASRA hopes to increase the performance and functionality of chips, created higher yields and optimise delivery time and performance for the Japanese car companies involved.

Outline of Advanced SoC Research for Automotive (ASRA)

Date of EstablishmentDecember 1st, 2023
ChairmanKeiji Yamamoto (Senior Fellow, Toyota Motor Corporation)
Executive DirectorNobuaki Kawahara (Senior Advisor, Denso Corporation)
MembersMembers Automotive Manufacturers: Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Mazda Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Corporation, SUBARU Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation
Electrical Component Manufacturers: DENSO CORPORATION, Panasonic Automotive Systems Co., Ltd.
Semiconductor Companies: Cadence Design Systems, Japan, MIRISE Technologies Corporation, Renesas Electronics Corporation, Socionext Inc., Synopsys Japan
Headquarters LocationNagono Campus, 2-14-1 Nagono, Nishi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Business ActivitiesResearch and development of automotive SoC applying chiplet tech

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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