The growing adoption of active safety systems in Europe is propelling demand for obstacle-sensing technologies including vision and short-range sensors, and long-range radar sensors, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan, “The Market for Obstacle Sensing Technologies in Passenger Cars and Commercial Vehicles in Europe.”
"The critical role played by sensors, and the absence of a definitive sensor that fulfils the equally important requirements of obstacle sensing and classification, has created an attractive market for various competing and complementing technologies," said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Karthikeyan Vijayakumar.
Vijayakumar estimates the European market for obstacle-sensing technologies at €14.4 million in 2004, growing by 26.7% to €194.7 in 2015. “This is largely due to the introduction of vision and short-range sensors, as well as the growing penetration of long-range radar sensors in passenger and commercial vehicles,” he said.
Vision and short-range radar sensors are likely to grow “due to compelling advantages such as lower cost and multifunction capability,” he added, citing 24 GHz applications such as emergency brake assist in the Mercedes S class.
“Vision sensors offer road user/object classification in addition to highly precise detection, making them ideally suited for multiple applications such as blind spot detection, emergency braking, night vision and lane detection warning,” Vijayakumar said. “These sensors also offer the opportunity to introduce low-cost safety systems, which considerably increases their potential in cost-conscious segments.”
He estimated that revenues for long-range radar sensors, which are in the growth phase of their life cycle, will be 11 times higher in 2015 than in 2004. They will account for more than 80% of total revenues in the obstacle-sensing technologies market in 2015.
“As vehicle manufacturers begin installing safety systems in not just luxury, but also in mass-market vehicles, long-range radar sensors will establish a strong presence in the mainstream D segment passenger cars,” Vijayakumar said. “The installation of radar-based adaptive cruise control systems in vehicles such as the BMW 3 series and the Volkswagen Passat already reflects this trend. Increasing installation in D segment passenger cars as well as in the heavy commercial vehicles sector is likely to strengthen the demand for long-range sensors.”
Vijayakumar cautioned that revenue growth in obstacle-sensing technologies is not likely to keep pace with growth in unit shipments. “Obstacle sensors are in danger of becoming a commodity product and this is impacting their pricing,” he said. “To remain competitive, suppliers need to keep the mergers and acquisition option open. They also need to be present in both the passenger car and commercial vehicle markets segments to avail the benefits brought by economies of scale."