The industry for automotive electronic components is on the rise, spurred by consumer demand for high-end, technology-integrated vehicles. Here’s what to expect in the near future. 

Remember the electronic radios of the 1960s? We’ve certainly come a long way since then. Now, yet another round of innovation is driving demand for automotive electronic components at an increasingly rapid pace. The electric vehicle industry, the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), and advancements in artificial intelligence are all expected to trigger exponential growth of the market for automotive electronic components. 

Fastest growing segment: Automotive electronic systems

The increasing complexity and popularity of automotive electronics fuel demand at a high rate. A recent report from IC Insights shows automotive electronic systems are expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% from 2017 to 2021, making it the industry’s fastest-growing segment. 

Let’s look at the automotive electronics and systems that drive component demand: 

Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS)

In 2015, ADAS was the smallest domain in the power semiconductor market, accounting for 5% of market share. But as demand rose, sophisticated ADAS systems are forecasted to experience a CAGR of 16%  from 2015 to 2022.

There are four major modules in the ADAS: sensing, processing, intelligence generation, and decision-making. Within each module, multiple electronic components are required to support each function. For example, an ADAS-enabled vehicle carries multiple sensors, including a long-range radar, a mid-range radar front and back, a night vision camera, a video camera, and an ultrasound and reserves camera to collect surrounding information. 

This information is then converted into electrical parameters such as voltage, resistance, and current for a central processor to provide situational analysis and create a series of possible actions and reactions. Finally, the actuation system executes these actions and reactions through the driver.

Take the blind spot detection system, a relatively new and increasingly popular function. A teardown of the blind spot monitor system reveals the major components used: a 24GHz Radar Blind Spot Detection Sensor, a ST Micro 24GHz Transceiver, an Analog Devices AD8284 Radar Receive Path Analog Front End, and a Freescale SPC5671LVVZ1 32-Bit MCU.

MEMS Sensor 

Among the many automotive electronic components, the MEMS sensor (microelectromechanical systems) is a necessity. Almost all automotive electronics systems rely on input from MEMS sensors to process information. 

MEMS sensors refer to technology that allows mechanical structures to be downsized and thoroughly integrated with electrical circuitry, resulting in a single physical device. The high precision and high reliability of MEMS sensors in combination with their low unit price have made them popular among automotive manufacturers. 

Currently, MEMS sensors account for 30% of total sensors in cars. The value of the global MEMS sensors market is $2711.4 million in 2020. Over 50% of the market share is occupied by MEMS sensors serving safety systems such as electronic stability control and roll detection.

Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) 

As one of the relatively new electrified vehicle safety systems, this tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) provides information in real-time. Early detection of inaccurate tire pressure can, for instance, serve to avoid traffic accidents, improve fuel economy, and extend tire life. The TPMS consists of motion sensors, pressure sensors, temperature sensors, microcontrollers, RF transmitters, and LF receivers. Thanks to MEMS technology, TPMS has become lighter, cheaper, and battery-free. For example, Freescale’s FXTH87 TPMS family can be integrated into a 7×7 mm package. 

Although TPMS is only one small part in a vehicle, the market potential is huge. Each car needs at least four TPMS systems with additional ones for spare and winter tires. Growing regulations to mandate the installation of TPMS is also driving demand for MEMS sensors designed for TPMS. According to Persistence Market Research, the TPMS market is expected to reach $23.6 billion by 2026. 

Increasing consumer interest in electric vehicles drive demand

Consumer interest in electric vehicles and self-driving cars continues to buoy the automotive electronics market. According to KPMG’s global automotive executive survey, 35% of global consumers would make a full hybrid electric vehicle (FHEV) their next car. Meanwhile, 53% of investors are planning to heavily invest in FHEV powertrain technology. In China, the world’s largest automobile market, 50% of consumers would prefer an FHEV. 

Compared to a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle (ICE), the value of electronic components in an electric vehicle is anticipated to grow 15 times, with the majority of the increase coming from power semiconductors in the powertrain system. Increased consumer interest in electric vehicles (EV) will, consequently, drive demand for semiconductors.

Bottom line: Count on the market for automotive electronic components to grow significantly over the next five to 10 years.  

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