Automotive rain sensors are devices that sense rain drops and automatically switch on the wiper in case of a water splash on the windscreen of vehicles. These devices augment the safety and ease of the driver, as they do not require the driver to adjust the wiper on the windshield in order to ensure clear view through the windscreen. Windshields of vehicles are equipped with rain sensors to detect the movement of the wipers without blocking the view of the driver. Automotive rain sensors can control the wiping movement of the wipers at flexible speed when the system is switched on. Rain sensors first appeared around 50 years ago, but their usage has been widespread of late. Automobile manufacturers have tried to either eradicate the wipers or control their speed automatically. Some of their techniques involved identifying vibrations caused by raindrops falling on the windscreen, putting on special coatings that do not allow raindrops to form on the windscreen and ultrasonically vibrating the windscreen to break up the raindrops so that they are not needed to be wiped out at all.
Improvement in technological advancements, rise in production of vehicles, and increase in demand for luxury features are the factors driving the automotive rain sensor market. Implementation of automotive rain sensors is driven by the rise in usage of advanced electrical features in vehicles. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are incorporating rain sensing wiper technology in vehicles due to the increasing demand. Initially, automotive rain sensors were a supplementary comfort feature; however, demand for these sensors has increased due to the rise in number of road accidents across the globe.
The overall cost of vehicles has increased due to the integration of advanced electrical features. This is a major factor hampering the automotive rain sensor market. Automotive rain sensors carry certain inconveniences. A single drop of water automates the wipers. Thus, frequent activation of wipers can damage the windshield. This restraint can hamper the usage of automotive rain sensors.
The automotive rain sensor market can be segmented based on type of vehicles. Based on vehicle type, the market can be divided into passenger cars, heavy commercial vehicles, and light commercial vehicles. The usage of automotive rain sensors is higher in passenger cars. High end cars such as SUVs, sedans, and sports cars are equipped with rain sensors. Automotive rain sensors are being used on a large scale in trucks and other commercial vehicles due to modernization and urbanization.
In terms of geography, the automotive rain sensor market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), Middle East & Africa (MEA), and Latin America. North America is the leading market for automotive rain sensors, followed by Europe and APAC. These three regions are technologically advanced. This coupled with rise in disposable income is propelling the automotive rain sensor market in these regions. MEA and Latin America are developing economies; these regions have not experienced much technological innovations. Furthermore, the per capita income of the people in MEA and Latin America is not high. These factors hinder the automotive rain sensor market in terms of production and consumption.
Key players operating in the automotive rain sensor market include Denso Corporation (Japan), Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. (Japan), Hella KGAA Hueck & Co. (Germany), Melexis Microelectronic Systems (Belgium), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (Japan), Robert Bosch GmbH (Germany), The Kostal Group (Germany), Valeo SA (France), Vishay Intertechnology Inc.(the U.S.), and ZF TRW (U.S.).