Global Trends in Automotive Electronics

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Global Trends in Automotive Electronics

Trends in the global automotive electronics industry include the use of smart position sensors; the use of miniaturized sensors, voice-activated controls, and compact circuitry; the increased demand for microprocessor chips; the prevalence of knock sensors; the use of imaging sensors and cameras; the use of multiple sensor combinations; and a rise in the demand of embedded systems.

We have limited this research to the past year as technology is a fast-moving field and we were able to identify enough trends from the past year alone.

The trends in the global automotive electronics industry are detailed below.

Smart Position Sensors

According to a report from Facts Week, the application of position sensors in modern vehicles has been on the rise lately.

In general, the use of sensors in the automotive sector has been on the rise due to "the growing electrification of mechanical components". Among these sensors, the position sensor is a crucial one. Furthermore, the position sensors are going contactless, and magnetic sensors are most popular among contactless sensors.

This trend is driven by the development of "easy-to-use position sensor[s]", e.g. the "contactless inductive position sensor (CIPOS) by Hella KGaA Hueck & Co". The precision, ease of use, easy assembly, and flexibility that these sensors offer, make them favorable for modern vehicles and this is what drives their growing adoption in the automotive industry.

Miniaturized Sensors and Voice-Activated Controls

To make self-driving cars a reality, convenience, comfort, and safety are some of the major areas of development. These areas are being augmented by the use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), e.g. miniaturized sensors, voice-activated controls, and compact circuitry. These systems are used to enhance body electronics and lighting in modern vehicles, such as the use of position sensors to report open doors, the use of touch-sensing panels or buttons instead of spring-activated switches, the use of wireless switching to operate alarms and door locks, the use of seat pressure sensors to trip alarms, the use of voice recognition systems for an "interactive human-machine interface (HMI)", and the use of other devices including solenoids, small motors, and actuation devices.

The ADAS systems will grow to occupy an estimated market of over $37 billion by 2021.

Microelectronics

The automotive sector is the largest segment in Germany and generated a turnover of €404 billion in 2016. Within the automotive sector, 80% of all innovations relating to modern vehicles come from semiconductors with mobile internet, electronic assistance systems, and digital controls becoming more and more prevalent in all vehicle types instead of just premium vehicles. Due to the increased adoption of such systems, the demand for chips (or microprocessors) is increasing. Semiconductors in the automotive sector saw a growth increase from 7.7% to 11.6% during 2011-2016. The global demand for vehicle electronics and semiconductors stood at $35 billion in 2014 and is projected to grow at an annual rate of 4.5% through to 2021.

Trends in the Global Automotive Knock Sensor Market

According to a Technavio report, three emerging trends relating to knock sensors in the global automotive market include "Flat response knock sensor", "Ionization current sensing ignition subsystem", and "Miniaturization of knock sensor". These trends are:

— Flat-response knock sensor's design allows it to be used in different types of internal combustion engines, e.g. alternative fuel engines, two-stroke engines, flexible fuel engines, and diesel engines.

— With the new ion sensing method for knock detection not being used widely in vehicle engines, ionization current sensing ignition subsystem from Delphi has followed the ion sensing technology and is a recent trend in knock detection.

— Small knock sensors — named M6 — designed by Continental are perfect for complementing the increasing demand for downsizing of engines.

Imaging Sensors and Cameras

Over time, automotive sensors have found an increasing number of applications for the monitoring of onboard conditions in vehicles, including but not limited to the measuring of parameters such as pressure, temperature, fluid levels, acceleration, oxygen flow, and speed.

A trend in automotive electronics is the advancement of the types of sensors and their applications. Specifically, imaging sensor applications are projected to grow rapidly with advancement in sensor design. The monitoring of different parameters to ensure the safety of passengers and the vehicle itself will likely become easier and more efficient with the miniaturization of the camera lens and imaging sensors.

Sensor Combinations

With the advent of newer safety features in the automotive industry, such as "improved self-diagnostics, crash avoidance technology, and advanced driver assistance", the adoption of LiDAR, radar, and image sensors is also expected to increase. Multiple combinations of these sensors may also be used to design and develop these safety features in the automotive industry.

Embedded Systems

The automotive industry is seeing a rise in the demand of embedded systems, particularly in the domain of smart electronics and connected devices.

An embedded system is "not a chip installed in a conventional computing application; however, it is a microprocessor utilized as a component in another portion of technology. These systems are employed to monitor, assist or control the operation of plant, machinery or equipment".

Conclusion

Emerging trends in the global automotive electronics industry are related to the use of smart position sensors, miniaturized sensors, voice-activated controls, compact circuitry, microprocessor chips, knock sensors, imaging sensors, cameras, multiple sensor combinations, and embedded systems.
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