Robotic vehicles: industrial sensors are the early winners

23rd February 2018
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
Robotic vehicles: industrial sensors are the early winners

"Sensors for robotic vehicles will become industries of their own," announced Yole Développement, the market research and strategy consulting company in its new analysis named Sensors for Robotic Vehicles. Growth rates are expected to be impressive. In 2017 production of robotic vehicles was in the range of a few hundred worldwide. Yole is expecting production volumes to reach 3.1 million units annually, with cumulative production of 10.5 million units, by 2032.

That market growth in excess of 2,500-fold, or 58% CAGR for the next 15 years. Yole presents its new technology and market report 'Sensors for Robotic Vehicles'. This analysis provides a comprehensive scenario for sensors within the dynamics of the robotic vehicle market including market metrics such as ASP, revenue, volume and shipment.

It also proposes a relevant description of the overall applications on the sensor suite: LiDAR, Radar, Cameras, IMU, GNSS, and associated computing. In this report, Yole’s analysts provides in-depth understanding of the related ecosystem and players. 

Who are the players? What is the robotic vehicle ecosystem? Who are the key suppliers to watch? Which technologies are today available? What will be the tomorrow’s technologies?

Fifteen years from now, the yearly revenue associated with the production of robotic vehicles will reach $300bn. Fifty two percent of that figure will originate from the vehicles themselves, 26% will come from sensing hardware, 17% from computing hardware and the remaining 5% will be from integration.

“Within 15 years complete industries will be structured around robotic vehicle technologies,” asserted Pierre Cambou, Activity Leader, Imaging at Yole. 

When looking closer to the present, in 2022, Yole announced sensor revenues to reach $1.6bn for LiDAR, $44m for radar, $0.6bn for cameras, $0.9bn for IMUs and $0.1bn for GNSS. The split between the different sensor modalities may not stay the same for the 15 years to come. Nevertheless the total envelope for sensing hardware should reach $77bn in 2032, while, for comparative purposes, computing should be in the range of $52bn.

Today the car sales market account for $2.4 trillion per year and is the natural target of internet giants like Google, Baidu, Amazon and Uber. Such companies are mostly attracted by transportation as a service (TaaS) market. “At Yole, we believe, TaaS should reach the same value of $2.4 trillion in 2032”, commented Pierre Cambou from Yole. “With an additional $1.1 trillion to be generated by sales of personally owned Autonomous Driving (AD) vehicles, the added value of autonomous driving is expected to reach a total of $3.5 trillion”, he added. 

Due to the numbers at stake the stealth players in everybody’s minds are Apple and Samsung, the latter of which is not so stealthy, having bought Harman in 2017. As a consequence, their entry should take place at some point in time, with a possible 'mobile to smartphone style' transformation of the industry.

Within the robotic vehicle technology stack, high-end industrial sensors will play a key role. There are key differences between automotive ADAS technology and equipment that will fit into early robotic vehicles. Yole warned about this very persistently in our previous reports on automotive technology.

“Robotic vehicle report provides the missing piece with which to complete your AD market understanding,” explained Pierre Cambou. 

Automotive ADAS has to focus on reliability and cost issues serving a market with sales of millions of units. The technologies to serve the robotic vehicle market will be mainly driven by performance and availability and will serve a market of only tens of thousands units by 2022. The orders of magnitude are in fact totally different between the two worlds. To generalise broadly, high end industrial sensors will win in the early robotic vehicle sensor suite.

The consequences for existing players and technologies will be huge: some high-end markets such as LiDARs or industrial grade IMUs will more than double in the next few years. The impact will also be strongly felt by industrial camera makers. Therefore, technologies are expected to specialize by 2022 and possibly merge partially with ADAS by 2027.

Technology-wise 2032 is expected to be another world, with a complete paradigm shift. It is not often that the industry is facing such deeply transformative changes powered in part by sensing technologies. The robotic revolution is underway and Yole’s report is a thorough analysis of its market and technology implications.

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