With microchips operating everything in cars from entertainment systems and electronic door openers to crash-bag sensors and anti-lock brakes, the auto is taking the semiconductor industry for a nice little ride.
That’s according to a new study by analysts at Bernstein Research, who note that autos last year accounted for $24 billion – or about 8 percent – of the $300 billion in total global chip sales. And the total value of the semiconductors being plugged into cars is increasing rapidly.
While the average car contained about $186 worth of chips in 2002, they reported, that figure is expected to rise to $325 this year and $426 by 2015.
Currently, the need for more chips in cars is mostly being driven (excuse the pun) by infotainment, Internet connectivity and safety features, the analysts said.
But another factor down the road (sorry), will be the growing number of hybrid cars, which use twice as many chips as purely gas-powered vehicles, and by ”autonomous” cars that control some driving by themselves.