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Safety mandates fuel automotive MEMS growth

Posted: 01 Dec 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:automotive  MEMS  sensors  market report 

The use of sensors in passenger cars to comply with mandated safety technologies is a key engine of automotive MEMS growth. This includes electronic stability control (ESC) and tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).

According to iSuppli, the market for automotive MEMS sensors will be bigger than ever in in 2010, with shipments of automotive MEMS sensors reaching 66.23 crore units in 2010, up 32.1 per cent from 50.12 crore units in 2009.

The trend is driven by the rebound in automotive production and inventory rebuilding. However, growth is expected to slow in 2011 with shipments anticipated to climb only 7.3 per cent. But production will pick up again in 2012, and growth rates will end up above 13 per cent by 2014.

The United States and Europe have led the adoption of legislation on such safety systems and countries, such as Australia and Canada, have followed suit. Similar mandates are now being adopted in South Korea and are expected in Japan, accelerating overall adoption rates worldwide. The extra opportunity from both ESC and TPMS for automotive MEMS suppliers to Japan and Korea will correspond to additional revenue of some Rs.536.04 crore ($120 million) in those regions alone for the next five years, iSuppli said.

China will also account for a large portion of the automotive MEMS action. Compared to U.S. or European vehicles, the electronics content of low- and mid-range vehicles in China is about 50 per cent or less, but sensor penetration will steadily increase, first in powertrain applications in order to reduce carbon emissions that choke Chinese cities and afterward as safety sensors for additional airbags and ESC systems.

Among the new applications providing suppliers greater production opportunities for automotive MEMS sensors, the most prominent include usage of gas sensors to control air quality in the cabin; IR thermopiles to monitor temperature; microbolometers to aid night-vision systems and MEMS oscillators to boost rear-view cameras.

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