's smart driving chip could tape out by the end of the year at the earliest, according to local media.

(Image credit: BYD)

BYD is planning to develop a dedicated chip for smart driving, with the project led by a team from its semiconductor subsidiary BYD Semiconductor, local media outlet 36kr reported today.

BYD has placed a demand on chip design companies, while itself is recruiting a BSP (board support package) technology team, the report said, adding that the chip could tape out at the end of the year if pushed forward quickly.

It is not uncommon to start chip development from the BSP, which serves to provide a standard interface to the operating system running on the chip, according to the report.

The chip is not the priority, BYD can develop the BSP on a development board, and when the chip is ready, it can then be debugged, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

BYD Semiconductor was established in October 2004, and BYD directly holds 72.3 percent of the shares. BYD founder Wang Chuanfu indirectly controls BYD Semiconductor through BYD.

The company entered the industrial MCU space in 2007 and launched its first generation of 8-bit automotive MCUs in 2018.

In May last year, BYD Semiconductor announced that its automotive MCU installed base exceeded 10 million units. If the industrial MCU chips were counted, the cumulative shipments exceeded 2 billion units.

Although it is China's largest new energy vehicle maker, BYD's capabilities in smart driving have not been as recognized as those of startups including Motors (NYSE: XPEV, HKG: 9868) and (NYSE: NIO, HKG: 9866, SGX: Nio).

In 2021, BYD set up a joint venture with autonomous driving company Momenta and also entered into partnerships with companies including Baidu and Nvidia in the smart driving space.

But relying on external suppliers is not BYD's style, and its preference has always been for vertical integration, 36kr said, citing an industry source close to the company's management.

In smart driving, BYD is unlikely to give up control of core technologies, and entering from hardware and chips is in line with the company's usual approach, the source said.

BYD to equip some 2023 models with self-driving chips from local startup Horizon Robotics