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Cars Playing Increasing Role In Optoelectronics Sector

17 percent of headlamps to use LEDs in 2019

With car ownership increasing in less economically developed regions and vehicles becoming more advanced, the automotive sector is playing an increasingly important role across all the major opotoelectronic component product types, according to a research note by Stewart Shinkwin at IHS Inc.

Following a new European Union Directive 2008/89/EC, which required after 2011 all new models of car to be fitted with daylight running lamps, adoption of LEDs in automotive exteriors has significantly increased. Due to the long lifetime and energy efficient nature of LEDs, penetration in this area of the market was high and has helped drive adoption of LEDs.

Use of LEDs specifically in headlamp units is still relatively low, with only 2 percent of car headlamps using LEDs in 2013 according to figures from IHS Automotive. As their popularity, performance and efficiency grow, this is set to increase to 17 percent in 2019. This will bring significant growth to the LED market, with packaged LEDs for automotive exterior lighting set to grow at a CAGR of over 8 percent.

Technological advancement in the automotive industry has increased the adoption of infrared components, with a wide range of automotive applications including auto headlamps, automatic windscreen wipers, gesture control, and night vision displays. Infrared revenues in this sector are forecast to increase from $118 million in 2013 to $207 million in 2019. It is unlikely, says IHS, that these technologies will become standard features in lower cost models; however, their penetration in mid-tier models is constantly increasing.

The increase in sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and full electric vehicles (EV) is also promoting growth in the optocoupler market. Optocouplers are used in HEVs to isolate the onboard chargers and other high-voltage systems. With HEV shipments growing at a CAGR of 18 percent through to 2019 and little price erosion due to the significant barriers to entry, this market is a lucrative one for those manufacturers that can operate here. IHS forecasts that this market will nearly double from $74 million in 2013 to $146 million 2019.

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