5/25/10

Multisensor MEMS to Post Colossal Growth in 2010 and Beyond

MEMS with multiple elements will find use in automotive and consumer applications.

Multisensor Microelectromechanical (MEMS) packages—or multiple MEMS sensors contained in a single package—will experience explosive growth in automotive and consumer applications in 2010 and beyond because of their reduced size and lower overall cost, according to iSuppli Corp.

Shipments of multisensor MEMS packages in automotive Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems will begin in 2010 and grow quickly to reach 25.9 million units in 2014—representing more than 50 percent of the market. Likewise, shipments of multisensor MEMS packages for mobile handsets will take off in 2010 to reach 8.1 million units, up from 2.7 million in 2009. Shipments during the next few years then will grow by tremendous leaps and bounds to hit 305.0 million units by 2014.

Multisensor MEMS Ride High in ESC Applications
The rising use in vehicles of multisensor MEMS—also called “combo” sensors—is in line with the projected increase in availability of automotive ESC systems, the computerized technology in vehicles designed to detect and minimize skidding by comparing the input of the driver with actual vehicle motion from accelerometers, gyroscopes and wheel speed. ESC systems will reach approximately 45 million in 2014—more than double from 19 million in 2009—driven by current fitment mandates in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. Bosch Group and Finnish company VTI Technologies (e.g., for Continental AG), will lead the use of multisensor MEMS packages in the automotive supply chain, according to iSuppli data. Other companies likely to develop combo sensors include Denso Corp. from Japan, as well as Freescale Semiconductor and Analog Devices Inc. from the United States.

Overall, multisensor packages used for ESC applications are 5 percent to 10 percent cheaper than the so-called inertial clusters—discrete sensor solutions of gyroscopes and accelerometers that have been combined on a printed circuit board in separate packages.

Multisensor MEMS Also to Rule in Mobile Handsets and Gaming
In common with automotive applications, multiple MEMS sensors are being used in cell phones and consumer electronics to achieve cost cuts compared to a discrete approach. A multisensor package costs 10 percent to 15 percent less than when the costs of individual discrete sensors are added up.

Aside from reducing the financial outlay, multisensor packages ease the signal processing for the OEM. A multi-sensor solution usually fuses the signal from the different sensors, a difficult task that not all integrators are willing to perform.

iSuppli expects that 30 percent of motion sensors will ship as part of multisensor MEMS packages by 2014, up from 1 percent in 2009. The 6DOF compass—combining a 3-axis compass and 3-axis accelerometer—will be the dominant solution, while 6-axis Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) combining a gyroscope and accelerometer will emerge as the second most important multisensor package.

Also by 2014, multisensor MEMS packages should be present in the new gaming platforms from Nintendo Corp. and Sony Corp., iSuppli believes.

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