Auto Electronics

ABI probes automotive sensor market

ABI Research has completed a new study of the automotive sensor market with regional forecasts of leading sensor types through 2012. The report discusses the safety applications that employ these sensor technologies, identifies market drivers and provides profiles of major industry players.

"Active safety systems are driving increased sensor use," said ABI senior analyst Robert LaGuerra. "Safety is becoming one of the biggest markets in the automotive industry, and the economic implications of road safety mean that governments are involved."

Blind-spot detection will be a growth segment, according to LaGuerra, who believes that radar will ultimately prevail over competing infrared and optical technologies. He picks ultrasonics as a continuing winner for bumper-mounted, close-range obstacle detection.

”Different sensors may address the same task, but not all perform equally under all conditions,” said LaGuerra, “so many safety systems' futures will lie in combinations of multiple sensing technologies: radar and optics, for example, in forward viewing applications.”

Factors slowing the evolution of sensors, according to LaGuerra, include the auto industry's long development cycle and a lack of standardization.

“These factors, which differ greatly with the difficulty of the task and the sophistication of the system, must weave their way through a complex web of industry players: OEMs, system designers and sensor manufacturers," LaGuerra said.

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