Photonics Technologies for ADAS in the Automotive Industry – Needs, Challenges, Market Forecasts

As the automotive industry evolves, Photonics will have the opportunity to spread into smart functions. This report will present the main results of a report on Photonics in Automotive performed by Tematys (France) and initiated by EPIC (European Photonics Industry Consortium).
The automotive industry is a highly competitive field where players have to constantly innovate in order to optimize costs and adapt their offer to customer requirements. Customer’s purchasing criteria of a car are as follows: entertainment and design, comfort, safety and, the main one, cost.
“One of the most promising segments  for photonic technologies manufacturers”
In order to meet these criteria, car manufacturers seek to add new high added-value functions such as connectivity or automatic braking. Until recently, Photonics was integrated into car only through lighting functions. But photonic technologies are the best for sensing and imaging the environment. This is critical for any smart system and, as a consequence, Photonics is expected to be widely adopted beyond lighting.
The most promising automotive segment for the integration of photonic technologies is ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System). It is the fastest growing segment. ADAS applications include emergency braking, parking assist, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, communication car-to-car and other safety applications and require robust, reliable and cost-effective technologies.
Our report shows that ADAS is one of the most promising segments in terms of economic perspective for photonic technologies manufacturers. Indeed, we forecast that the market of Photonics in ADAS will grow from around € 2.8 b in 2014 to around € 9 b in 2020 with a CAGR 2015 – 2020 of around 22 %. Moreover, unlike Lighting where big companies are well-established, there is space for new comers. Furthermore, ADAS paves the way to autonomous vehicles in which Photonics will be critical. Technically speaking, autonomous vehicles should be ready by 2030. However, several challenges remain. First, photonic systems including the photonic sensor and the algorithm are too expensive for automotive applications. A lot of work is done to decrease costs of photonic components. Second, products have to be standardized to be widely adopted. Third, regulations and insurance have to be adapted to include automated driving.
At last, the biggest challenge lies in the long lifecy­cle – five years on average  – of technology adoption in the automotive industry. How will the long lifecycle of the automotive industry cope with ever evolving mobile technologies industry that can provide a new product generation every six or twelve months? In other words, will Apple and Microsoft become the next Tier 1 suppliers of the automotive industry? (Source: EPIC)
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