The semiconductor content of an average vehicle will continue to grow exponentially, stemming from a barrage of new, advance safety, engine and chassis control technologies in new vehicles over the next few years.

According to a new report by Allied Business Intelligence Inc. (ABI), the global automotive semiconductor market, driven by these new systems, will grow from a projected value of $12.3 B in 2002, to just over $17 B by 2007. The largest application for automotive silicon is body and chassis control, which includes electronic traction, suspension and stability control systems. This segment commands approximately 26 percent of the automotive semiconductor market and will be worth $4.4 B in 2007.

"Despite a decrease in global vehicle production, the growing demand for automotive-specific semiconductors will continue and the adoption of new automotive electronic systems will be driven by differing factors worldwide," said Frank Viquez, director of Automotive Electronic Research at ABI. In the US, new government legislation mandates that automakers implement advanced airbag safety systems and tire pressure-monitoring systems in future car lines. Also, new car and light truck rollover testing methods adopted by the national highway traffic safety administration (NHTSA) are expected to influence carmakers to install stability control systems to gain better rating.

The study, "Automotive Electronic Systems: Emerging Markets for Power Train, Safety, Chassis Control and Infotainment Systems and Their Effect on Semiconductor Demand," explores the proliferation of electronics into the automotive platform, with a special focus on micro controllers. The report provides a comprehensive overview of growing automobile technologies, including VVT, DoD, collision avoidance systems, telematics, 42 V power systems and x-by-wire.