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New US Safety Mandate Improves Automotive Forecast for Semi


Growth in the automotive infotainment sector for the semiconductor and electronics industry continues to strengthen. As DigitalTrends reported, the big news this week came yesterday from the US Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA issued the following statements:

[…] a final rule requiring rear visibility technology [rear-view cameras and in-dash view screens] in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds [including busses and trucks] by May 2018. […]

[…] The field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.

Mandates improve growth forecasts

As we have seen over the years regarding safety mandates in the automotive industry, the growth forecasts for both new sales for the auto industry as well as for the semiconductor and electronics industry strengthen because consumers and enterprises will upgrade vehicles to benefit from the newly included safety improvements. While there is a significant set of features and offerings being presented in the still growing auto-infotainment sector, the final ruling issued this week for rear-view cameras is significant in that it applies to all cars – not just high-end or “fully loaded” vehicles. Not only does this ruling ensure the installation of the camera components, the additional processors and ICs, it also secures more stability for the display sector which has experienced a tough period in sales.

The automotive industry saw an upward movement in US sales starting around mid-March, which isforecasted to continue for April, as reported today by Manufacturing Business Technology.

Will V2X be a reality?

Embedded systems hold additional promise in the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-X (V2X) vision. This V2X embedded future has been demonstrated this year at the leading technology and automotive events as we've been reporting. The question though, is whether or not the transportation and highway safety regulation boards in various countries will approve these communications and features. As EETimes reported in mid-March, the US federal government has agreed to begin review of these features and possibilities, which could hold significant promise for growth in automotive and semi. As EETimes reported:

Worldwide system demand could reach 18.8 million units embedded in specific vehicles by 2020 if the US mandates V2X. Without these regulations, the worldwide forecast drops to just 5.3 million units, said Kevin Mak, senior analyst in the Automotive Electronics Service (AES) at Strategy Analytics, United Kingdom, and author of a new report entitled "V2X: A Safety Benefit For Automotive, But How Should It Be Deployed?"

[…]Implementation of a mandate couldn't come soon enough as the benefits for the automotive industry are huge. The key reason behind DSRC (automotive-standard V2X, called Dedicated Short Range Communication) is to enhance safety, particularly to prevent collisions beyond the line-of-sight of the driver and beyond the range of on-board sensors, such as cameras and RADARs, Mak said. In fact, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said V2X could prevent 70-to-80 percent of crashes of unimpaired drivers and save 20,000 lives a year in the United States.

This week's ruling for rear-view cameras and in-dash viewing is an important step forward as these features will constitute part of the larger V2X designs which will undoubtedly include additional exterior cameras and necessarily incorporate in-dash viewing. What the extent of V2X approval will be and what sorts of incremental steps will occur is an important question, but the reality is that automotive electronics are only increasing in penetration and will continue to do so. Simultaneously, these added safety features will contribute to improved sales forecasts for the automotive industry presently and over time.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 18:56 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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