BRT S03 EP12 (111) 3-20-2022 – Semiconductors & Cars w/ Rohan of On Semi

Business Roundtable

Mar 21 2022 • 1 hr 3 mins

BRT S03 EP12 (111) 3-20-2022 –

Topic: Semiconductors & Cars w/ Rohan of On Semi

Things We Learned This Week

  • Onsemi & Fresscale were a spinoff of Motorola, IPO in 2000
  • Onsemi makes tech for cars, power steering and AI sensors, plus more
  • Many Tech and Car Co’s in Phoenix area: Rivian, Lucid, Atlis, Nicola, Intel, Onsemi, Microchip
  • AZ State has advantages that recruit these Tech Co’s - weather, government subsidies, low regs, no natural disasters, no disruption to supply chain
  • Chip Supply Chain issues – dates back pre-pandemic, circa 2019, did not keep up with demand, especially cars

Guests: Rohan Raghunathan –  Product Line Mgr – On Semi



Rohan graduated from ASU with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and also attended Cornell Univ for his MBA. Prior to working at On Semi in 2019, he was at Pwc as a Management Consultant in tech, and a Product Engineer at Microchip. He also had his own startup called Bioscope.


Through both acquisition and robust internal development, onsemi has achieved leadership positions in several markets and technologies that fuel its growth, including automotive, industrial, and cloud power. In 2021, to better reflect its broad technology portfolio, differentiated product lines, and market leadership, ON Semiconductor rebranded itself as onsemi.

Though there is a new look and feel, the company’s roots are foundational. In 1999, Motorola spun off its standard products semiconductor business into an independent company called ON Semiconductor. Motorola had been a pioneer in transistors, especially for commercial applications. In fact, a Motorola transponder relayed the first words from the moon to Earth in July 1969. Motorola also pioneered the automotive electronics industry, from the first mobile radios in police cars in the 1940s to automotive electric controls and semiconductors in the 1970s.

However, Motorola wasn’t the only industry pioneer to provide the foundation for the modern-day onsemi. In 2016, onsemi acquired Fairchild Semiconductor to become a top semiconductor manufacturer. Fairchild was founded in 1957 to build transistors out of silicon rather than the more common germanium. It also pioneered the planar process, making transistors more easily, at a lower cost, and with higher performance and reliability. This planar process led Fairchild to develop the first commercially viable integrated circuit in 1960, which became the foundation for many of the innovations we enjoy today.


On Semi – Phx, AZ – spinoff of Motorolla in 1999, and had the IPO in 2000

Motorolla spun off to On Semi and Freescale in 1999

Microchip founded in 1989 in Chandler, AZ, and had their IPO in 1993

Many tech and car co’s in Phoenix area: Rivian, Lucid, Atlas, Nicola, Intel, On, Microchip

Microchip – work with infrastructure, industrial, cars

On Semi – sensors, eyes on trade

Power 0 semi – on board charger lighting, power steering

Nvidia & Mobile Eye might make processor for brain, with other parts by SD Micro, & Texas Instruments

Could be hundreds or thousands of chips in new car development

Hybrids or EV Vehicle Level Z + of chips – Autonomous/AI car

Future – more semis in cars, AI in trucks

Many AI Car Co’s operate in AZ: Cruise, TuSimple, Waymo, Tesla, Uber

Many Semiconductor (microchip) Co’s in AZ: Intel, Microchip, TSMC – Taiwan Semi

Next evolution is 5 Nanometer – AI /autonomous Data Center

EV Car Co’s in AZ: Lucid, Rivian, Atlis Motors, Nicola

AZ State has advantages that recruit these Tech Co’s - weather, government subsidies, low regs, no natural disasters, no disruption to supply chain, I-10 and big freeways, easier with transportation

AZ tech and industry really grew during WWII, connection with security, move major industries  inland from the coast and potential attack. More major tech establishing hubs in AZ

Big Tech Co’s like Google, Amazon, FB developing their own ASICs (in house components)

Application specific- customized chips w/ fast processing & lower costs.

Business model – IDM Integrated Device Manufacturer like a One stop shop

Then TSMC came along in the 1990’s, changed process, Cost effective

Moore’s Law – tech gets faster and cheaper with better processing power over time, every 2 years, upgrade, and size becomes smaller – ie: I-Phone better than a computer in 1980’s

AZ also big in defense industry Co’s: Raytheon, Lockheed, or adjacent like Honeywell

Semi are everywhere – every company is a tech co in some way now

Semi/Microchips – cars, phones, fridge, kitchen, i-pad, TV, smart TV, interactive advertising, AI

Mosfet – entertainment, traction, steering onboard applications

OEM – Ford, GM, Tesla - Electrification of the car, regulations to reduce CO2

Make car lighter – electronic parts

AI – autonomous

Improve steering and inner mechanics

SmartCar – more sensors, improve safety. More chips. Could lower insurance. Change whole transportation industry. Car drives you.

Fabrication facility – very clean and sterilized.

Make a chip wafer design – then cut into smaller chips, ‘dice’.

Chip Supply Chain issues – dates back pre-pandemic, circa 2019

Different semi- or microchips, size going to 7 nanometer – size of chips and capacity.

Some chips do not have to be as good range .25 micron to nanometer size could be 100x difference.

Investments in new tech, and R&D

China Trade War had impact – 2018

Semi industry did not keep up with demand, especially cars. Demand shifter to computers and data centers/servers.

Demand for cars returned 2021 and lack of supply last into 2023, cyclical of supply/demand. 5G, AI and infrastructure, capacity improving – doubled in 2 years.

BRT Clip from 3/1/2021

Tech Biz from New Tech of AI Sensors to How to Value a Tech Co

Guests: David Schie, Founder / CEO of AI Storm

aistorm.ai / www.lineardimensions.com


AI Storm is a AI company that makes the sensor tech used in common products for security cameras, traffic devices, and vehicles (cars). AI (Artificial Intelligence) common uses in everyday services that people are unaware of, and how the technology works. We also ponder the future uses of AI technology and how many industries it will be a part of in the next decade.

Full Show: HERE

BRT Clip from 1/31/2021

Vehicle 2.0 - Tech Meets Transportation w/ Atlis Motors & TuSimple

Guests: Mark Hanchett CEO & Founder of Atlis Motor Vehicles


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-hanchett-amv

Mark Hanchett, CEO and Founder – started 2016, tech background, worked at Axon (Taser)

Per Mark - I believe that to change the world we need to build it ourselves. We cannot wait for the government to force it, and we cannot wait for big corporations to innovate. To make this world better, we need to develop the products, technologies, and solutions that make the current standard obsolete. I believe dedication to this is what makes great products and great people.

Full Show: HERE

Robert Brown - Senior Director of External Affairs at TuSimple

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-brown-797085150/

TuSimple is an autonomous (driverless) truck company using AI software to control the truck with a driver riding in the cab. They are operational on a test basis from Az to Texas, and expect to be live in 2024. Robert talks about the technology of the AI trucks, safety protocol, and the process to get Gov’t agreement. Then he tells of the future of the truck market, truck driver employment.

Full Show: HERE

Tech Topic: https://brt-show.libsyn.com/category/Tech-Startup-VC-Cybersecurity-Energy-Science

More 'Best of Tech': Here

‘Best Of’ Topic: https://brt-show.libsyn.com/category/Best+of+BRT

Thanks for Listening.

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Business Roundtable with Matt Battaglia

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