This is one of the most disruptive periods the automotive industry has ever experienced, and one of the most exciting. Breakthroughs in new electric vehicles, autonomous cars, supply chain shortages and changes, and more are on the verge of changing the automotive world. Specifically, from lighting to internal monitoring, through radar or 2D or 3D imaging camera modules, the semiconductor industry is making incredible progress in the car industry. It’s pushed by new regulations, like making driver or occupancy monitoring systems a mandatory feature for the future. Vehicle makers will use lighting and sensor capabilities to extend use cases. For instance, this could be detecting seat occupancy, evaluating occupant morphology such as seat belt adjustment and pretension, monitoring vital signs and feeding to emergency calls if necessary, and so on. Yole offers an in-depth view of the changes happening through our bundle of reports. Get access to market data, technology and application trends, teardown, reverse engineering and reverse costing of the key devices and modules, as well as specific functionality analysis of photonic systems by Piséo.
Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electrified (CASE) megatrends have taken the industry by storm. Cars being sold today are adopting new imaging technology equipment to support new features, and in particular support the transition from advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) towards autonomous driving (AD). In this context, embedded technologies are progressing very fast – either for viewing, ADAS, or in-cabin applications.
The adoption of viewing cameras, such as rear view, has been spectacular, and this phase now involves 360° surround-view systems. ADAS forward cameras equipped 58% of light vehicles produced in 2021 and will reach 86% by 2027. Both automated emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assist (LKA) for automation Level 2+ cars are well-proven market applications. For the next phase of growth, in-cabin cameras, and side/rear ADAS cameras will become necessary. Not only are consumers buying into the craze, but regulators have also come into the fray to accelerate adoption. In-cabin driver monitoring systems (DMS) and improved vulnerable-user detection technology such as pedestrian-AEB are next in line for accelerated adoption.
With the integration of light-emitting diode (LED) technology, lighting has evolved from a basic, functional feature to a distinctive feature with high-value potential in automotive. Indeed, LED technology has given manufacturers the opportunity for strong differentiation via lighting design and additional functionality. This is particularly true for both exterior and interior lighting, where the integration of LED technology offers more design flexibility, increased efficacy, and intelligent functionalities. To investigate this evolution, Piséo has analyzed the ID3 headlamp, through teardown and reverse engineering of optics, mechanics, assembly, electronics and thermal management analysis, and performance characterization. From the rear to the front, lighting has evolved from a purely functional application with no real added value to more intelligent applications, offering personalization, communication, and driver assistance. There have been significant mergers and acquisitions recently in the industry. Faurecia has acquired Hella and Plastic Omnium has acquired ams Osram’s Automotive Lighting System business and Varroc Lighting Systems. This shows that lighting is not limited to the front and rear but is now integrated into other parts of the vehicle. While the main applications evolve with more complex technologies embedded, new applications are emerging, especially around the car, such as logo and grille illumination, and near-field projections. These new applications will be used for personalization and communication.
Exterior applications, with lighting modules and an always-increasing number of sensors, are usually highlighted. In-cabin applications are being developed very fast to improve the comfort and increase the safety of all occupants.
In terms of comfort, ambient lighting is not limited to better visibility in dark zones. New applications for safety, communication, and styling are being developed. This leads to the development of miniaturized LEDs and smart packages which include drivers for color calibration. Comfort is also a reason to integrate more sensors related to air quality monitoring and to reduce unpleasant noises by using active noise cancellation, especially in electric vehicles where noise from the wind, the road, or the powertrain can rapidly become tiresome.
In terms of safety, two applications are being rapidly implemented by vehicle makers due to recent and up-coming regulations, specifically driver monitoring and occupant monitoring. These applications can rely on 2D cameras, which have been widely adopted. But emerging technologies using 3D cameras are emerging. We expect vehicle makers will use radar sensor capabilities to extend use cases beyond child presence detection.
Adding sensors for safety and comfort, whether on the exterior or inside the cabin, is greatly increasing semiconductor content in cars. Indeed, ADAS and electrification are the two main drivers. There is currently around $511 worth of semiconductor chips in each car. This will grow to about $820, with about 900-1,100 chips per car. Semiconductors are clearly critical to the automotive industry in the on-going disruptive transition. Yet most vehicle makers or tier one suppliers do not have a well-defined strategy for semiconductors yet. Specific expertise in semiconductor technologies and the supply chain, both internally and externally, is urgently needed to prepare for the future.
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