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Rapid developments in the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), wireless technologies and wireless charging are some of the biggest drivers behind the development of new electronic components. Besides digital transformation in most manufacturing sectors with big trends such as Industry 4.0, Smart Cities, Healthcare, Green Engineering, 5G and Autonomous Mobility, you have complex challenges around scale, power consumption, connectivity, sensor processing and even ease of implementation. Together, these are driving some of the biggest component trends in the industry.
However, over the next several years, one of the biggest issues facing the industry and the world will be power consumption, especially with a growing array of IoT devices. There is also greater concern for the environment and the need to reduce greenhouse gases, which has increased pressure on the industry to develop new ingredients that address these concerns.
Designers face two major challenges: reducing energy consumption and improving efficiency. Here you’ll see three major component trends progressing over the next few years – gallium nitride (GaN) power devices, battery management systems (BMS) for electric vehicles (EVs), and energy harvesting.
Other technologies making significant advances include light and range sensors (LiDAR) to improve safety in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous vehicles (AVs), and gas sensors to improve human health and safety.
Gallium power equipment
What drives the GaN power IC market a lot. GaN is a wide bandgap (WBG) material that offers higher switching frequency, lower losses, higher power density, and better thermal management compared to its silicon (Si) counterparts. Regarding fundamental properties such as bandgap, critical electric field, and electron motion, they have all been shown to be better than silicon.
GaN and RF devices, along with WBG semiconductor silicon carbide (SiC), are making progress in 5G networks. These WBG power integrated circuits find homes in millimeter wave applications above 6 GHz. Keep an eye on developments especially in GaN amplifiers (PAs) and PA units. These devices are getting smaller and eliminate or at least reduce the need for external components thanks to their high performance and/or high integration.
Another big area of adoption is industrial motor control, where GaN can replace MOSFETs and IGBTs. Expect to see new GaN HEMT transistors and power phases using proprietary GaN technologies to achieve higher efficiency and lower impedance.
Yole Group expects the GaN data/telecom market to reach over $617.8 million in 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 69% over the forecast period 2021-2027. Another driver of significant demand will be automobiles, which Yole expects to exceed $227 million by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate of 99% over the forecast period.
However, one of the biggest areas of growth and advancement is the GaN fast chargers for mobile devices. There have been a variety of fast charger introductions with power ratings of 65W, 100W, 140W, 150W and 250W. Neighborhood energy savings are up to 40% compared to silicon solutions.
What we can expect in the new GaN roadmap are improvements in efficiency, scale and integration. There is also an expectation that costs will improve with increased adoption.
Electric vehicle battery management systems
BMS manages and monitors rechargeable battery cells or packs. It is an important component of an electric vehicle and consists of several subsystems that provide cell balancing, protection, and status notification regarding the health of the batteries.
Safety is the big issue, but these building management systems also play a role in saving energy. The main challenges for product designers are optimizing power consumption through monitoring and control functions and ensuring battery safety and longevity. At the same time, they also need to reduce size and weight.
The BMS market is already a big industry: It’s expected to reach $10.8 billion in 2027, up from $7.9 billion in 2020, according to ReportLinker.com. However, rising demand for electric vehicles along with government mandates will drive new developments and demand for these safety systems. All major automakers have announced goals to produce electric vehicles from 40% to 50% of their annual volumes in the United States by 2030. The US government is investing about $135 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing, battery production, and charging stations.
Concern about range still matters to consumers even though newer electric vehicles offer more than 200 miles on a full charge. BMSes are critical in eliminating this fear by improving efficiency.
In addition to helping to extend the driving range, makers of power management integrated circuits are also tasked with reducing design complexity and costs. Few manufacturers offer wireless BMS systems (wBMS) that comply with ASIL-D requirements.
Industry players believe wBMS will become an even bigger trend in the electric vehicle market due to its lower design complexity and cost compared to systems that use conventional wires. These systems eliminate cables, connectors, and passive components, resulting in reduced weight that extends the driving range.
Energy Harvesting Devices
With the proliferation of IoT and wearable devices, energy harvesting technology is expected to see wider adoption, allowing devices to operate without batteries. Emerging applications include wearable healthcare devices and remote healthcare monitoring.
Energy harvesting can be used independently as a standalone power source or as an additional power source for batteries. These systems harness small amounts of ambient energy from a variety of sources, such as vibrations, solar, wind, heat, and radiofrequency. There has also been work done in collecting energy from other sources such as power lines, ocean waves, and even trees.
The global energy harvesting system market is expected to reach $986.3 million in 2028, up from $488.3 million in 2021, according to Grandview Research. The main driver of growth is the Internet of Things, including smart cities, smart homes, industrial Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communications. This is prompted by increased environmental awareness, according to the report, including targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy demand.
These systems consist of many components, including sensors, sensor interface ICs, transducers, power management ICs, and storage devices such as supercapacitors or small rechargeable batteries.
In the future, we can expect to see more companies looking at new sources of energy harvesting, including those that can be used in wireless sensor networks to monitor machine health. In addition, a major development area will be power management integrated circuits, which handle power from the harvesting subsystem. This becomes even more complex if multiple power sources are required to meet the system’s power requirements. Other developments are likely to include smaller energy storage devices and low-power sensors.
lidar in cars
Industry players call LiDAR an essential enabling technology and building block for vehicles. LiDAR sensors are expected to make a big move in ADAS and AVs over the next five years. These devices provide accurate, real-time 3D images of the vehicle’s surroundings. The LiDAR automotive market is expected to reach $2.0 billion in 2027, up from $38 million in 2021, according to Yole Group.
For imaging, conventional mechanical scanning still holds the largest design win ratio at 69%, according to Yole, even though MEMS micromirror and flash LiDAR find homes in cars.
LiDAR has gone from large, antiquated mechanical spinning solutions on top of a vehicle that cost thousands of dollars to much smaller, solid hardware. However, the market is still kind of a wild west, with more than 80 LiDAR companies with nearly as many technologies, so automakers will continue to have plenty of options for valuation.
One example is ADAS’s new XenoLidar-X real solid-state LiDAR and autonomous XenoLidar-X, which spans more than 200 metres, operates in all lighting and weather conditions, and uses “4D AI” for image or point cloud processing.
A few of the latest LiDAR innovations also focus on facilitating integration into vehicle systems. One example is AEye Inc’s 4Sight Intelligent Sensing Platform. , which provides adaptive LiDAR for software-defined vehicles, a growing trend in the automotive industry that enables functionality and features via software as well as over-the-air updates.
LiDAR’s creators will continue to focus on improvements in object detection, the ability to extract more reliable data from sensing systems, and easier implementation in vehicles.
The traditional applications of gas sensors are found in environmental, industrial, medical and automotive monitoring applications. However, they are making advances in smart home and smart city monitoring applications, driven by a growing interest in indoor air quality and outdoor pollution, and gas measurements in the parts per billion (ppb) range. They are also adding new AI features.
One growing trend for these “electronic noses” is to combine gas sensors with machine learning algorithms, according to IDTechEx. By targeting more selective measurements of air quality than current gas sensors, it opens up new applications, such as forest fire monitoring.
For example, Bosch Sensortec’s new gas sensor, the BME688, is part of Dryad’s Silvanet Wildfire sensor that helps detect impending wildfires and wirelessly notify authorities. The BME688 uses artificial intelligence and integrated high-linear, high-precision pressure, humidity and temperature sensors and includes a gas scanner function, which can be customized for sensitivity, selectivity, data rate and power consumption.
To monitor outdoor air quality, the ZMOD4510 gas sensor from Renesas Electronics Corp incorporates a new algorithm based on artificial intelligence. The AI-based algorithm enables very low energy selective ozone measurements and can determine selective ozone levels at concentrations as low as 20 parts per billion.
Looking to the future, with advanced software and materials used to further miniaturization, IDTechEx anticipates the use of gas sensors in emerging applications for smartphones, wearable devices and smart packaging. However, work remains to be done on standardization, the market researcher said.