Cutting edge technology

Is the automotive market a gold mine for MEMS sensors?

Introduction: According to the introduction of Memes Consulting, MEMS devices have performed very well in the automotive field. Airbag and tire pressure monitoring are the first large-scale applications of MEMS sensors in the automotive field, driving MEMS sensors from the weak high-friction business to the mainstream market. However, according to IHS Markit, the growth of MEMS sensors in the automotive sector is expected to be lower than other sensors.

First, what do you think are the three major applications for MEMS sensors in the future?

Three categories of automotive sensors: safety, engine management and comfort applications

If there is no "car" market in your answer, then you prove that you are not in the impetuous market "echo room" (Echo chamber effect, which vividly reflects a common phenomenon in social media today: because the same viewpoint is repeatedly repeated and exaggerated, it is difficult to hear the questioning voice), of course, it is also possible that you did not carefully read the title. Everyone knows that as the car is transforming from traditional machinery to electrified “wire-driven drive”, it has brought huge market opportunities to the electronics market.

This means that more and more sensors will be used in cars, so MEMS vendors are preparing for the upcoming market boom.

However, the cake may not be so fast. The logic seems to be fine, but in fact, as in the fall of the "MEMS and Sensors Summit" last fall, some of the actual research provided by Jeremy Bouchaud, principal analyst and leading director of MEMS and sensors at IHS Markit, a leading market research organization. Indeed, in this round of changes in the automotive market, many sensors need to be applied, but how many of them will be MEMS sensors (even semiconductor-based sensors)?

MEMS are everywhere?

According to James Consulting, MEMS devices have performed well in the automotive field. Airbag and tire pressure monitoring are the first large-scale applications of MEMS sensors in the automotive field, driving MEMS sensors from the weak high-friction business to the mainstream market. However, according to IHS Markit, the growth of MEMS sensors in the automotive sector is expected to be lower than other sensors. IHS Markit considers the compound annual growth rate of MEMS sensors (CA) from 2014 to 2024GR) is 3%, and the compound annual growth rate of the next category sensor (traditional negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermal sensor) placed in front of the MEMS sensor is expected to be 7%, and other sensors have a higher compound annual growth rate. For example, the radar can reach 18%.

Automotive MEMS and Sensors Market Overview

Source: Automotive MEMS and Sensor Markets and Technology Trends - 2017 Edition

Jeremie Bouchaud's market opportunities for sensors by application With a breakdown of interpretation, if you think that all sensors will eventually switch from traditional technology to MEMS technology, then his analysis can give you some clear understanding.

After recognizing that not all sensors are actually MEMS, the original "MEMS industry" classification has been renamed "MEMS and sensor industry." But research is still focused on leading microscale semiconductor sensors. For example, strictly speaking, devices such as Hall-effect sensors may not be MEMS, but they are still micro-scale and are also made of silicon. Other large-scale, relatively cumbersome macro-mechanical units that are not manufactured and assembled on wafers have a bright future.

Currently, cars can be divided into two categories based on significantly different sensor needs. Among them, the most conspicuous one is the self-driving car that everyone is talking about; the other type (which overlaps or overlaps with autopilot to some extent) is an electric or hybrid car.

Sensors in self-driving internal combustion vehicles

A variety of sensors are exploding during the development of traditional vehicles to autonomous driving. In Level 2 autopilot, external cameras and radar dominate, microbolometers are increasingly available as optional sensors; in Level 3 autopilot, cabin interior cameras and lidar (LiDAR) will be required; at Level 4 Level and 5 automatic driving, at the operating end will see the inertial measurement unit (IMU, the combination of accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer), the occupant entertainment system will use more possible sensors and actuators.

Autopilot Vehicle Sensor Market Forecast

Source: Autopilot Vehicle Sensor-2018

Cameras and radars are traditional sensors, and each vehicle can be used in multiple directions. In addition, most of the many Lidar competitors have adopted traditional technology. In fact, the most well-known solution for reflecting laser beams using a rotating mirror is also operated on a macro scale. Will these sensors be replaced by MEMS technology? It is possible, but IHS Markit's prediction is not certain, and only some laser radars will adopt MEMS solutions.