$13.6bn auto radar market has CAGR of 12% 2022-8

With Continental, Aptiv, Bosch, Hella (now Forvia), Denso and Veoneer (soon Magna) the automotive radar market is already large and still growing at Tier-1 and Semiconductor levels.

Multiple developments include a switch from 24 GHz to 77 GHz, a move from legacy radar without elevation capability and a limited tracked object list to 4D radar as a baseline and imaging radar in premium cases.

There is also a trend toward centralizing radar computing and transitioning from planar PCB antennas to 3D waveguides. According to Yole, the exterior radar market was $6.7 billion in 2022 and expected to grow to $12.9 billion by 2028.

“Besides exterior radar sensors for driving assistance, our car interiors are becoming more monitored,” says Yole’s Cédric Malaquin, “the  first implementation was a driver monitoring system to ensure the driver focused on the road ahead. A car occupant monitoring system is a natural extension for passenger safety, starting with CPD , though it also finds application in improving the user experience. Next on the list will be object monitoring, such as the position of a seat or headrest.”

A CPD system has been demanded in many markets since 2022/2023 (ASEAN NCAP, Euro NCAP), though the system itself is not regulated. In most cases, an indirect method is used (door opening cycle tracking & driver alerts).

However, from 2025, a direct sensing method will be mandated in Euro NCAP , which is likely to change the market dynamics for in-cabin monitoring.

Radar is particularly well suited for this task as it can detect a child in a turned-back baby seat. It can also be used in vital sign monitoring.

The market opportunity is estimated at $600 million by 2028, and market uptake is expected in 2025.

“Automotive radar sensors are starting a shift from tracking a limited list of moving objects to generating a perceptual mapping,” says Yole’s Raphaël Da Silva.

The first breakthrough improvement was enabling elevation measurements with radar modules. This was key to deciding on whether or not to drive over road debris and drive under bridges and has been the focus of 5th-generation radar from the leading players.

However, the most significant breakthrough required is the order of magnitude angular resolution improvement needed for proper target separation. The first so-called imaging radar achieved a 1° angular resolution by scaling the MIMO concept. The principle is to increase the number of transmit and receive antennas to get a bigger virtual antenna array aperture.

But there are some physical limits to antenna scaling, starting with the size of the array. Another limiting factor is the computing power and memory resources necessary for such an array. A solution could be computing centralization.

With centralized architecture, the computing part of the radar is likely to be removed and delocalized to a zonal ECU .

As a result, radars will be cheaper and smaller, and their computational power will be increased, thus improving their performance. Vehicle centralization is the new trend among OEMs and should become a reality around 2030 – 2035.

There have been substantial performance improvements in the RF sensor itself. Key figures of merit improved, along with better temperature stability. Meanwhile, integration has been further enhanced thanks to a move toward mature CMOS technologies

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