Automotive data converters are electronic devices that convert analog signals from the various sensors in a vehicle to digital signals that can be processed by a computer. These sensors range from cameras and temperature sensors to radar or LIDAR sensors that are used in automotive driver assistance systems (ADAS). Once the systems convert the data, it is then processed in other vehicle systems-on-chip (SOC) blocks.
The need for automotive data converters has been growing consistently owing to the increasing demand for electric vehicles, and ADAS in vehicles. Let’s look at these growth drivers in more detail.
Factors Driving Growth of Automotive Data Converters
According to data by Markets & Markets, the global automotive data converters market is expected to grow from USD 1.1 billion in 2020, to USD 2 billion by 2025. One of the factors driving this growth is the increasing demand for ADAS in vehicles. In recent years, both consumers and regulatory bodies have demanded automobiles to be equipped with advanced safety systems that protect drivers and reduce accidents. For example, in 2020, the European Union and the U.S. had mandated that all vehicles should be equipped with autonomous emergency braking systems and forward-collision warning systems. In 2021, the U.K. government announced that it would mandate installation of Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) in new cars from 2021. Since, automotive data converters provide an interface for a multitude of analog sensors to automotive system-on-chips, they are essential components of ADAS technologies, thus recording parallel growth.
When it comes to electric vehicles, we know by now that not only are more consumers shifting to EVs, but so are Governments across the world introducing regulations and infrastructure to push more EVs on roads. According to data, the global sale of EVs has touched 14 million in 2023, up from 10 million in 2022. This number is only expected to grow, with EVs set to contribute to 20% of global car sales by 2025, and 40% by 2030.
Having said that, while the demand for automotive data converters is certainly on the rise, it comes with corresponding challenges.
The Impact of Vehicle Complexity on Automotive Data Converters
The increasing complexity of modern vehicles is a challenge for automotive data converters because it requires more advanced sensors and components than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. For example, modern vehicles have anywhere between 1 to 150 electronic control units, many of which control high-level functions that far exceed the programming requirements of the late 20th century. The complexity of these systems requires more advanced sensors and components that require more advanced and sophisticated data conversion techniques.
That being said, data converters are designed to handle a wide range of signals, including complex signals. Today, automotive designers are turning to Analog Devices’ broad technology base in data converter, amplifier, MEMS, sensor, sensor interface, digital isolator, processor, and RF technologies for system level ICs to enable cost-effective, higher performance designs. By leveraging these technologies, designers are able to create safer, greener, and more comfortable automobiles of the future.
How Shortage of Semiconductors are Impacting Automotive Data Converters
Today, the automotive industry is facing an acute shortage of semiconductors, leading to closure of production lines and delayed vehicle production. The shortage is also impacting automotive data converters because semiconductors provide an interface for a multitude of analog sensors to automotive system-on-chips (SoCs).
When there is a semiconductor shortage, it affects the production of automotive data converters, which leads to supply chain disruptions. According to data by S&P Global, in 2021, more than 9.5 million units of global light-weight production were lost as a result of a lack of necessary semiconductors. In 2022, another 3 million were impacted. A 2022 report stated that the global semiconductor industry would surpass USD 600 billion, with the demand for chips set to grow considerably in the coming years, owing to increasing levels of semiconductor content in modern-day vehicles.
There are a number of solutions that automotive manufacturers can and have been adopting to address this shortage; like creating strong technology maps to identify strong critical components and suppliers in the supply chain, using short-term inventory planning to meet inventory needs, providing long-term demand planning guidance to suppliers to build capacity to meet future demand, and replacing back-ordered components with similar but more feature-rich units, to name a few.
As the automotive industry continues to evolve, manufacturers must prioritise the development of reliable and efficient data connectivity technologies that can keep pace with the growing sophistication of sensors and compute platforms in vehicles. This will require a focus on innovation, safety, and cost-effectiveness to ensure that data networks are designed to meet the unique needs of the automotive industry.
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Growing Demand for Automotive Data Converters:
- The automotive data converters market is experiencing significant growth, with an expected increase from USD 1.1 billion in 2020 to USD 2 billion by 2025.
- The demand is primarily driven by the increasing adoption of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in vehicles, mandated by both consumers and regulatory bodies for enhanced safety features.
Impact of Electric Vehicles on Demand:
- The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) is a major factor contributing to the increased demand for automotive data converters.
- With the global sales of EVs expected to contribute to 20% of total car sales by 2025 and 40% by 2030, the integration of advanced sensors in EVs necessitates efficient data conversion, highlighting the importance of automotive data converters.
Challenges Due to Vehicle Complexity:
- The complexity of modern vehicles, with a higher number of electronic control units (ECUs) and advanced functions, poses a challenge for automotive data converters.
- Advanced sensors and components are required to meet the sophisticated data conversion needs of modern vehicles, adding complexity to the design and manufacturing process.
Semiconductor Shortage Impact:
- The global shortage of semiconductors is adversely affecting the automotive industry, leading to production line closures and delayed vehicle production.
- The shortage of semiconductors is directly impacting automotive data converters, causing supply chain disruptions and hindering the production of essential components for vehicle systems-on-chip.
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