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10 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018 Another market analyst, Transparency Market Research (TMR), on the other hand predicts a CAGR of 7.4% between 2017 and 2022 for the global automotive electronics market. The market analyst firm expects the market to be valued at $5.05 billion by the end of 2022, up from $3.53 billion in 2017. Fuel- ing the growth of the automotive electronics market include rising safety considerations, demand for high-end electronics for naviga- tion, information, and entertainment, and the rising popularity of electric and hybrid vehi- cles due to environmental considerations, according to TMR. One trend in the automotive electronics sector is the shift to LED lighting. In an inter- view, Greg Marini, director of business devel- opment at EMS firm Vexos Inc., says the advent of LED lighting in cars—from headlights to tail lights to interior lighting—was one of the biggest game changers in the past decade. He also mentioned the prevalence of back-up cameras, rear-view mirror systems, entertain- ment systems, and the touchscreen, or just the display of information and content that is available for the driver. "There's so much information that you put down into these cars that I think there's actually a pull back now on what's going to be available for users, to keep them focused on driving the vehicle instead of being distracted by all the accessories that are available for them to tinker around with." Safety is another trend that's driving inno- vation in automotive electronics, accord- ing to Future Market Insights. The research firm added that powertrains, wheels, park- ing assistance, and electrical suspensions are the major application areas most likely to spur the growth of the market, as well as increasing environmental sustainability plus rising demand of cutting edge infotainment systems. These, in turn, will fuel the demand for complex electronics systems. In line with this, protection of complex electronic systems from damaging electrical hazards and strin - gent government regulation regarding vehicle safety are some of the major challenges facing designers in the automotive electronics indus- try, FMI added. While reliability continues to be one of the main challenges in automotive electron- ics, there are others. For instance, Marini mentioned lead time. "Materials are leading or extending out there like copper for PCBs or just simple components like resistors. I was having a conversation when I was in China a few weeks ago. There is a simple resistor there that seems everybody in the industry is using. Lead times are getting way out of the normal lead times, and it's a challenge to manage that for ourselves and our customers to understand that. People that are used to see an eight-week time for their products are now looking at two or three times that for some of these because of the components they've selected. So, we try to mitigate that by offering alternatives, or working with the customers to see if they can design with different components." Aside from the challenges, the nice thing about the automotive electronics market is that when you land some programs, there's a bit of peace of mind, so to speak, because you typically land platforms that last three to five years, according to Marini: "It's nice from the new product development side; you can have some consistent income coming from programs and start to focus on others. In other indus- tries, the program might be one, two, or three years, and you worry about replacement busi- ness. So, the downside is it takes a long time to get that business in the development side. But once you secured it, you are sure to have that for three to five years." This month's issue of SMT007 Magazine looks at the challenges, opportunities, and new requirements from automotive electron- ics customers, and how these issues may be addressed. Enjoy! Next month, I am travelling again to Shang- hai, China, to attend NEPCON China. I hope to see you there! SMT007 Stephen Las Marias is managing editor of SMT007 Magazine. He has been a technology editor for more than 14 years covering electronics, components, and industrial automation systems.

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