Automotive MEMS Show Solid Growth; Government Mandates Are the Wild Card

New York, New York - June 15, 2011

Automotive safety systems are found in a growing number of vehicles, and shipments of MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) that are crucial to their operation are increasing even faster.

Nearly 100 million airbag, tire pressure monitoring, and electronic stability (ESP) safety systems that use MEMS shipped worldwide during 2010. They contained more than 300 million MEMS chips. In 2016, about 150 million systems are expected to be installed in vehicles, but the number of MEMS they contain will have rocketed to over 830 million.

The reason for this difference? According to ABI Research practice director Peter Cooney, “Safety systems are becoming more advanced and more complex, and each new system tends to contain more sensors than previous generations.”

MEMS generally fall into three main categories – accelerometers, pressure sensors, and gyroscopes.

One technical trend is to integrate several sensors, or types of sensor, on a single chip; a related trend is to make a single MEMS do double or triple duty in the service of several safety systems. Says Cooney, “Sensor integration will have a negative effect on MEMS sensor market growth, which will also come under pressure from increasing market competition.”

However more important than any of these is the single largest driver of the automotive MEMS and safety systems market: government mandates. When governments make safety systems mandatory (as the USA did with TPMS) MEMS suppliers see a big benefit.”

MEMS suppliers to the automotive market are currently few. This is no market for startups: it’s difficult to get into, and deep pockets are required. But profits can be significant for those that succeed.

Automotive MEMS Sensors covers the accelerometers, gyroscopes and pressure sensors used in automotive airbag, ESP and tire pressure monitoring systems. Each of these markets is analyzed by unit volumes, revenues and average selling prices, with forecasts to 2016.

It is part of the firm’s Automotive Technology and MEMS Research Services.

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