Taiwan's industrial computer industry has attracted worldwide attention. Within numerous vertical integration applications, smart transportation has always been the main application with profitability expectations. Sintrones, a manufacturer of in-vehicle computing systems, has accumulated more than ten years of experience in complete development since its establishment in 2009. It has successfully broken new ground in important markets like Europe and the United States.
Its advantages lie in mastering the capabilities of complete system design and manufacturing. After many years of cooperation with end-user customers in Europe and the United States, it has engaged in interaction and obtained inspiration from its numerous esteemed customers' first-hand product technologies and constantly challenged its design capabilities. It has continued to develop various key products that can be used in vehicles in harsh scenarios. Based on the company's revenue, the European market accounts for more than 40%, and the US market accounts for 30%. The Company has refined its capabilities in operations and profitability in major global markets.
In an interview, Chairman and General Manager Mr. Kevin Hsu said that to adapt to the new era in transportation heralded in by electric vehicles (EV), there are a large number of new types of intelligent applications that continue to drive the development of in-vehicle computing technology; the traditional "On-board Unit" (OBU) has been expanded to a more diversified "Road-side Unit" (RSU) product segment, and significant new business opportunities are set to be introduced gradually over the next several years. Sintrones has been able to glimpse a future city framework built of new intelligent transportation systems, including "charging stations, smart poles, smart signage systems, and roadside intelligent video analytics," each application requiring the investment of resources to build customized corresponding special functions.
A deeply considered design that incorporates wide temperature, wide voltage, and software initialization has won customers and the market praise
In terms of technical advantages, to be as inclusive as possible, Sintrones has been able to take full advantage of the design range of comprehensive voltage power supplies, from 12 - 24V and to 48V—and there are even systems, such as cutting-edge rail transit systems, with unique specifications for DC 110V. Sintrones has created a complete product line to fit various industrial application standards, and it has also obtained several major quality certifications.
Mr. Hsu further explained that the high-current, high-voltage design required in fan-less heat dissipation technology is quite difficult. At present, Sintrones possesses several key patents in heat dissipation design and continues to maintain its leading edge in the field. In addition, the in-vehicle computing system has a very comprehensive response plan for vehicle emergencies. In the example of a vehicle that picks up students to and from school, a backup battery will be activated immediately upon a sudden power failure after an accident. The computer system will use the 5G or 4G network to transmit a distress signal and location data simultaneously to medical units, the students' parents, and school teachers. These are all examples of Sintrones' custom-designed in-vehicle systems for specific applications.
Sintrones' in-vehicle computer provides a complete solution for increasingly diverse intelligent transportation applications, including monitoring commercial driving behaviors and automatic driving assistance capabilities in vehicles such as police cars, fire engines, school buses, trains, ships, etc. It has a high degree of flexibility, supports a wide range of peripheral devices and network connections, and is adaptable to various vehicle management systems, such as those used in the user scenarios of fleet management, vehicle maintenance systems, and self-driving computers. Sintrones has specially built a variety of software initialization functions in advance to help customers quickly set up the software to complete a combination of various functions. For such efforts, the Company has won a fair share of praise from customers. This is different from other competitors who need to go through time-consuming design changes before they can gain support. For Sintrones, product timeliness and thoughtful design are the keys to achieving crucial competitive advantages.
Advanced GPU card configuration enhances the application of high-function artificial intelligence in in-vehicle systems.
Since high-performance artificial intelligence applications rely on the computing power of high-end GPU cards, vehicle-mounted computers that integrate GPU computing power form the core issues of fierce competition within the industry; thanks to its flexible designs such as fan-less heat dissipation and unique wide temperature, Sintrones is currently one of the very few in the industry that can provide in-vehicle computers supporting 200W high-end GPU cards. It has successfully entered the application field of high-end self-driving vehicle systems. The test of an uncrewed self-driving bus in cooperation with a renowned French self-driving vehicle company is continuing certification for system operation. In addition, more and more public transportation requires actual measurement of fail recovery and emergency backup, and simultaneous potential business opportunities will contribute to the stable profitability of Sintrones's operations.
It is also worth mentioning that INTEL, AMD, and Nvidia were the main processor designs in the past. Due to the needs of automotive systems, Sintrones's product line has increased support for NXP processors, which will further expand the future product layout. In addition, for the practical application of 4G/5G, Sintrones has achieved considerable gains due to its participation in constructing the European Expressway Electronic Toll Collection (ETC). However, due to costs and the timetable for the gradual popularization of telecom operators, the current demand for 5G applications is still slightly lower than that of 4G LTE.
Allying with AU Optronics to strengthen strategic partnership and layout future automotive systems
Sintrones mainly focuses on the application field of commercial vehicles. Due to the differences in technical specifications, market size, and cost structure for the intensely competitive passenger car market, Mr. Hsu has adopted a slow and steady strategy. He has actively formed a close strategic partnership with AU Optronics. Due to the variety of intelligent functions in vehicles, interior panels have skyrocketed, such as infotainment systems, brilliant rear mirrors, bright instrument panels, heads-up displays, and many electronic control units (ECUs). This suggests that large display panel manufacturers have an increasingly dominant position. For Sintrones, there are considerable potential business opportunities, but such options require a complete layout and preparation.
The two parties have cooperated to create an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) project. The parties have also launched various cooperative development projects for the Smart Cockpit system used in vehicles. For projects just on the cusp of initialization, there is the first-time promotion of charging station applications. The trend of electric cars has affected earth-shaking changes in the automotive market. The current new development is towards the role played by RSU, especially for the active improvement of safety in self-driving systems. The diversified integration of intelligent poles and intelligent traffic signs also brings new business opportunities for RSUs of in-vehicle computers.
At present, applications of EV charging stations, which have increased in demand, have sprung up one after the other. For example, various integrated applications have included electronic payment, digital signage, and ATM banking systems. Since there are onboard computers behind the scenes of different guide and self-service systems (Kiosks), Sintrones and system integrators have already started developing solutions and designing integrated kits. In response to the varied business opportunities in the electric vehicle market in the next ten years, Sintrones has performed product development and preparation.
Despite undergoing shortages of materials and the haze of market changes in 2021, Mr. Hsu remains optimistic about the growth potential of Sintrones in 2022. The current priority is to lock the development pace of the North American market and meet the opportunities offered by electric vehicles and charging stations in the United States. In these couple of years, Sintrones will rapidly increase its revenue share in the US market and actively prepare for the future of the automotive market.