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Japan's auto industry has an AI chip problem, says self-driving startup

TOKYO -- The Japanese auto industry is facing higher costs and potentially less design freedom as artificial intelligence chips become more expensive and reliance on overseas companies like Nvidia grows, said the semiconductor development chief of Turing, a Tokyo-based self-driving startup.

"Japanese chip companies were good for a more pure form of vehicle controls, but in areas where the AI factor comes into play, Nvidia has become more competitive," said Motofumi Kashiwaya, head of the semiconductor team in Turing. Kashiwaya, 54, is an expert on designing semiconductor architecture, and worked in companies like Toyota Motor, Sony and China's Huawei Technologies.

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