According to the latest research by TrendForce, the market of automotive mmWave radar expects rapid growth with the shipment estimated at 65 million units in 2018; the CAGR is expected to be 15% from 2018 to 2023. The growth momentum comes from China’s adoption of C-NCAP, a car safety assessment program, and NHTSA’s new regulation that makes automatic emergency braking system as a standard feature for new cars.
“With its wavelengths between centimeter wave and light wave, mmWave radar has been widely used in military fields because of its properties of both optical waveguide and electromagnetic waveguide”, says Yvette Lin, an analyst of TrendForce. With the development of automotive electronics, mmWave sensors have become a key for ADAS and autonomous driving, but its development in the past years has been stalled since mmWave radar needs exclusive frequency band. The situation has changed after the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 allocated 76~81GHz for automotive radar, providing a clear direction for the development of automotive mmWave radar.
Compared with other sensors, automotive mmWave radars are less influenced by weather, as well as shapes and colors of objects, with a detection range of 250 meters. Therefore, it has been widely used in active safety systems like blind spot detection (BSD), automatic emergency braking (AEB) and front anti-collision warning (FCW). At present, mass-produced cars with FCW and AEB are normally equipped with a long-range mmWave radar with two short-range ones, while cars with BSD require two short-range ones.
Current suppliers of long-range mmWave radar are mainly Tier 1 international manufacturers, while most Taiwan-based and Chinese manufacturers remain in the process of R&D or verification. As for short-range ones, Taiwan-based companies like Alpha Networks, Wistron NeWeb, Cubtek and Universal Microelectronics, have launched related products. Chinese companies, including Nanoradar, Sensortech Intelligent Technology and Intibeam, have also entered the stage of productization.
Lin notes that, China has included FDW and AEB in C-NCAP for the first time in 2018, while the U.S. will make AEB system as a standard feature for new cars since 2022, which will jointly drive the global shipments of mmWave radar to 65 million units this year. Driven by the demand for active safety from auto markets in China and the U.S., Trendforce estimates the annual shipments of automotive mmWave radars at 132 million in 2023, a CAGR of 15% for the period 2018~2023.