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Automotive Semiconductor Looks Bright

Although 2007 is shaping up to be a difficult year for the auto manufacturers, especially those lines devoted to large SUVs and trucks, the reality of high gas prices is the Achilles heel to auto manufactures. Demand for these vehicles is prompting production and job cuts. With that being said, there are many opportunities for the semiconductor suppliers in the short and long term. Fuel efficiency, hybrid technology and alternative fuel blends are the rage. This is opening the door to the use of more and higher complexity electronics to boost gas mileage.

Today hybrid vehicles have achieved about a 25% improvement in fuel consumption. This has been achieved by marrying electronics with two propulsion power engines, gas and electric. These are expensive to build and repair and actually have significantly more moving parts. A trend manufacturers really don’t like; as the moving parts increase the likelihood of a part failure tends to increase. Hybrids are a stepping stone to the plug-in electric vehicle that will sport a single drive train, electric. This conversion will result in vehicles that have 10 times less moving parts than current cars. Additionally, electric cars will consume more semiconductors than internal combustion propelled vehicles.

Currently the auto industry is developing several electronic systems that will see broad deployment in the next five years. The two areas are in safety and in cabin electronics.

On the safety side of systems, the following show high growth:

  • GPS
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Heads UP Displays (HUD)
  • Vehicle stability control
  • Blind spot warning system
  • Black box recording

On the in-cabin electronic systems, the following also show high growth:

  • Bluetooth enabled cabin
  • Mobile TV
  • Mobile internet
  • DVD players
  • Personal seating and climate controls
  • Enhanced security systems

These are just a few of the system that we are analyzing and have detailed information about.