​Self-Driving and Sensor-Aided Cars Spur Massive Growth for Automotive Sensor Industry

Automotive sensors are becoming ubiquitous in today’s markets. Try flipping to an NFL game and avoiding an ad about a car with blind spot protection or auto-stopping functionality to help accident avoidance. Customers are demanding more from their cars, and automotive sensors not only help customers stay safer on the roads but also ensure a more comfortable, convenient driving experience.

Given all that demand, it’s not hard to understand why the automotive sensor industry is experiencing a tremendous boom—especially with self-driving cars on the horizon from massive automotive manufacturers such as Ford, Hyundai, and Audi.

The Growth of the Automotive Sensor Industry—by the Numbers

This sector of the automotive industry has already experienced massive growth. In 2006, this market was measured at a mere $10.1 billion, and since then, the market has grown to an estimated total value of $21.54 billion USD in 2015, meaning it has doubled in nine years.

Forecasters are predicting an even more rapid growth in coming times—some predicting figures as high as $37.21 billion by 2022 at an 8.1 percent compound average growth rate (CAGR). This figure, if accurate, means that the value of this market would nearly double in only half the time it took for the market to expand from 2009 to 2015—quite the exponential growth indeed.

What Segments Will Experience the Most Growth?

Obviously, there are many different sensors for many different applications, and not all are alike. Demand for backup cameras and related sensors, for example, will likely grow somewhat and then remain static, given that all new consumer vehicles manufactured after 2018 will be required by the NHTSA to incorporate a backup camera.

However, safety features will likely still be the most quickly-growing market, even when not required by law. Increasing numbers of manufacturers are including “driver assistance” features in their higher-end cars and even as options on lower-end models. Customers love these features because they help keep them safe, make their lives more convenient, and protect their investment in their cars.

These sensor and software packages don’t drive your car for you, but they can help keep you safer: blind-spot detection that will disallow you from switching lanes when there is an object detectable (but unseen) in your blind spot, parallel and parking assistance, automatic braking, and other safety and convenience features.

In addition to the growth of the driver-aid sensor package, we can expect to see massive growth in companies that specialize in self-driving technologies such as smart GPS and mapping tech, LIDAR motion, and object detection sensors. Companies such as Mobileye will certainly be big players in these areas, and OEM car manufacturers such as Audi and Ford are also investing in research and development of these technologies.

Computer chip manufacturers such as Nvidia and Intel are also companies to watch as self-driving cars continue to grow. These smart, computer-enabled cars need plenty of silicon to interpret and process all of the information from their various sensor packages, and both companies seem to be investing quite heavily in their self-driving sectors.

Wrap-Up

The year 2016 was an exciting time to be alive. We witnessed the rise of computer-aided, driver-helmed cars, and perhaps even their successors—the self-driving cars of the future that, until now, existed only in the realm of science fiction. Regardless of which technology continues to grow, one thing’s for sure—the automotive sensor market is on pace for unprecedented growth, and it’s certainly a market to keep a close eye on as these technologies continue to develop.

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