Self-Developed Chip Technology in Smart Car Industry NIO, XPeng and Li Auto's Progress

TapTechNews July 9th news, in the field of smart cars, self-developed chip technology has become the competitive focus of new force companies. According to 36Kr Automobile, after four years of planning and development, the self-developed chips of these companies have finally entered the tape-out stage, indicating that they are about to be put into practical application.

Self-Developed Chip Technology in Smart Car Industry NIO, XPeng and Li Autos Progress_0

It is reported that NIO's self-developed intelligent driving chip Shenji NX9031 has begun tape-out and is being tested. Tape-out is the transition of the chip from the design stage to actual manufacturing, paving the way for mass production and commercialization. NIO plans to apply the Shenji 9031 to its flagship sedan ET9 for the first time in the first quarter of 2025.

In addition, XPeng Motors' self-developed intelligent driving chip has also been sent for tape-out and is expected to return in August. And the code name of Li Auto's intelligent driving chip project is Schumacher, which is also expected to be completed within this year.

According to TapTechNews' understanding, NIO's Shenji NX9031 is a 5-nanometer process intelligent driving chip with more than 50 billion transistors, which was released in September 2023. NIO claims that through its self-developed NPU, this chip can efficiently run various AI algorithms. Although NIO has not disclosed its specific AI computing power, CEO Li Bin once said that their goal is to use a self-developed chip to achieve the performance of the current industry's four flagship intelligent driving chips. This means that NIO's chip needs to compete with chips with computing power of more than thousands of Tops.

Self-Developed Chip Technology in Smart Car Industry NIO, XPeng and Li Autos Progress_1

It is reported that NIO has formed a chip team of more than 800 people since 2020, and the person in charge is from Huawei HiSilicon and reports directly to NIO's hardware vice president Bai Jian. At present, only TSMC and Samsung in the world can foundry 5-nanometer chips. Due to the tight capacity of TSMC, Samsung has become a more economical choice, and its cost is 30% cheaper than that of TSMC.

In addition to NIO, XPeng and Li Auto are also stepping up their self-developed intelligent driving chips. After XPeng's unsuccessful cooperation with Marvell, it turned to cooperate with Socionext for chip design. Li Auto began to strengthen the construction of the chip team last year, and there are currently about 200 people. The person in charge of Li Auto's chip technology, Qin Dong, is the only senior executive among the new forces' three companies without a background from Huawei HiSilicon.