Significant rise in focus on passenger and driver safety in the auto sector and expansion of the consumer electronics industry have increased the use of camera modules.Nishita Pereira
In today’s digital age, demand for cameras has witnessed exponential growth; so much so, that camera has emerged as one of the most important parameters a consumer takes into account while purchasing a phone. As if this alone wasn’t enough to boost the camera module market, growing focus on safety and security has upped the usage of cameras for surveillance and driver assistance. This expansion of the use of camera modules from conventional digital applications to a wide range of new and upcoming industries has inspired the development of advanced products with improved features.
Camera modules find application across a wide range of industries, from medical and healthcare, consumer electronics, and automotive to defense and aerospace and industrial and security applications.
Consumer electronics form a major consumer base, with camera modules primarily used in devices such as smartphones, digital cameras, webcams, tablet PCs, and surveillance systems. Among these, smartphones and tablet PCs are the most prominent end users, with demand for and inclusion of high-resolution cameras in smartphones playing a significant role.
Sony released its IMX586 stacked CMOS image sensor for smartphone cameras in July this year. This new image sensor is reportedly the first 48MP smartphone camera in the world, ensuring enhanced images even in low light. The image sensor also boasts of signal processing functionality as well as exposure control technology.
Asia Pacific, with its vast and thriving market for consumer electronics and existence of leading major smartphone and electronics component manufacturers, has become a well-known hub for camera modules. The developed regions of Europe and North America are not far behind, thanks to the tech-savvy lifestyles of consumers and their high disposable income.
Camera modules have, in recent years, found rising application in the automotive sector. This can be primarily attributed to ongoing initiatives taken by governments and car manufacturers across the globe to minimize the occurrence of road accidents and ensure driver safety. In addition, regulations pertaining to the installation of image sensors in automobiles, which help improve the vision of vehicle drivers, have compelled auto manufacturers to include these latest technologies in their vehicles.
Audi is one such automaker, whose inclusion of various driver assistance systems has resulted in growing demand for camera modules. Its A8 model, for instance, offers a slew of safety features that can help prevent accidents and make the driver’s life easier. Features such as adaptive driver assistant, two lane departure warning system, top view 3D function, intersection assistant, pre-sense 360 degree safety system, and emergency assistant are aided by the image sensors and camera modules.
Grand View Research projects that the global camera module market will reach an estimated value of USD 61.78 billion by 2022, exhibiting a double-digit growth rate. At present, Asia Pacific is the most prominent market in terms of revenue and this is primarily driven by the existence of leading smartphone and electronics component manufacturers. Nevertheless, countries in Europe and North America show immense scope for growth owing to greater disposable incomes of consumers and their increasingly tech-savvy lifestyle.
Here are some of the favorable trends likely to boost the adoption of and demand for camera modules across industries:
• There has been an ongoing switch from traditional applications of digital cameras to more unconventional applications such as security, automotive, and medical
• Recent years have seen exponential growth in the consumer electronics industry, with special focus on demand for devices such as smartphones, cameras, and tablets
• Growing usage of smartphones and advent of new technologies have made distant communication easier and better. Features such as video calling, online video chatting, online learning, and video conferencing, have become possible in a host of applications
• Camera modules are also being increasingly used in machine vision for measurement, flaw detection, identification, positioning, and verification of products in multiple industry settings.
Another prominent trend that has shown immense potential for the growth of camera modules is the introduction of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in the automotive sector. These sensors, through ADAS, offer several safety features such as blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, park assistance, tire pressure monitoring, lane departure monitoring, adaptive front lights, and autonomous emergency braking.
Rising awareness about road safety and increase in government mandates to reduce accidents has upped demand for ADAS and image sensors and, subsequently, camera modules. The European Transport Safety Council, for instance, revised two key road safety regulations earlier in 2018, making room for the inclusion of modern transportation safety solutions. Revisions to the Pedestrian Protection Regulation 78/2009 and the General Safety Regulation 661/2009 mandate the installation of leading priority technologies in new vehicles.