Automotive applications of MEMS/MST (micro-electromechanical system/microsystem technology) sensors should continue to constitute a significant part of the automotive electronics market. The 2002 automotive electronics market was $22.7 billion and is expected to grow to $30.0 billion by 2005. By then, the automotive sensor market will have reached $8.45 billion, with the automotive MEMS market estimated to reach $2.27 billion.
Technology solutions have steadily migrated from the electromechanical world to the MEMS/MST arena in many automotive applications. Today, MEMS/MST devices almost entirely serve MAP (manifold absolute pressure) and airbag acceleration applications. Numerous applications also are under consideration, or in early production, as candidates for MEMS/MST. These include wheel-rotation, tire-pressure, refrigeration-pressure, engine-oil-pressure, brake-pressure, and yaw-rate sensors.
A host of other new applications is getting a look for sensor integration into newly developed systems. Simply put, the cost, reliability, and size of MEMS/MST-based solutions make them the technology of choice. MEMS/MST devices have accumulatively logged many millions of operating hours in automotive applications, with proven reliability.
The next five to seven years should see a proliferation of MEMS/MST-based devices in automotive and other applications. Total system cost, not just the cost of the device, has held back the onslaught. As low-cost packaging developments and high-volume, low-cost testing matures, the success of MEMS/MST-based solutions will be ensured.
The automotive sector continues to be robust worldwide, with 2002 production at 54.2 million vehicles and growth expected at about a 1.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2002 to 2007. Thus, expected market growth for MEMS/
MST sensors falls in the 12% to 14% CAGR range.
For more information on this topic, see the paper "Application Opportunities of MEMS/MST in the Automotive Market: The Great Migration from Electro-mechanical and Discrete Solutions" on my Web site.