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Car safety systems and the chips that serve

Posted: 16 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:automotive electronics? car safety system? control IC?

New vehicle production averages about 3 percent growth per year. (Click to view full table)

Vehicles have certainly become more electronic. Consumer automotive electronics such as DVD-based entertainment systems and GPS navigation devices have almost become standard features. Another significant opportunity in automotive electronics is the safety system, a segment that Databeans Inc. estimates has an average annual growth rate of 9 percent. This is three times the growth rate of new vehicle production.

There is a huge opportunity in car safety systems, which is growing at an average annual rate of 9 percent. (Click to view full table)

Automotive safety systems use intelligent control ICs in great numbers. Airbag modules, electronic parking brakes, tracking and stability control, anti-lock brakes and tire-pressure monitoring all fall into this category. Aside from MCUs, transceivers and sensors are also used. Complex designs serve to fuel the growth of these semiconductor devices. Additionally, shipment for the applications themselves is growing, when more than one module is planned for next-generation vehicles designs.

Car safety systems incorporate a number of semiconductor devices from intelligent MCUs to transceivers to sensors. (Click to view full table)

Databeans estimates that the 2007 revenue from semiconductor devices used in car safety systems will total about $3.5 billion, constituting 18 percent share of the automotive semiconductor market, which is projected to top $19 billion for the year. Top suppliers include Texas Instruments Inc., Infineon Technologies AG, Freescale Semiconductor Inc., STMicroelectronics, Analog Devices Inc. and Bosch GmbH.

Gaining momentum
Innovation and investment in car safety systems continue to make sense, as consumer awareness gains momentum. This trend is reinforced by laws, such as the U.S. TREAD Act, requiring a warning system in new motor vehicles to indicate to the operator when a tire is significantly under-inflated.

These market forces will continue to impact modern vehicle design, driving IC suppliers to provide innovative solutions for the automotive safety segment, and also for entertainment, driver assistance, body electronics and fuel economy.

- Susie Inouye
Research Director, Databeans Inc.

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