The Electronic Control Module (ECU) is an embedded system of the vehicle responsible for controlling various electrical subsystems. The ECU interprets a number of signals received from the sensors such as manifold air pressure sensor, throttle sensor, brake sensor and adjusts the various systems accordingly.
Increased demand for advanced driver assistance functions and safety systems is a major driver for the expansion of ECU for automotive market. Preference for high speed and luxury cars is increasing as they include advanced infotainment and cabin control functions such as sunroofs, power windows, and rain sensing. The deployment of such technologies has increased the number of ECUs used in a car and has thus raised their demand. Rise in concerns regarding fuel economy and emissions has resulted in the deployment of ECUs to control fuel discharge and exhaust to achieve optimal combustion. Autonomous vehicle technology includes use of an interconnected ECU as it has to manage the driver features along with the infotainment. The autonomous vehicle ECU relates the signals received from the radar, LiDAR sensors and adds interface to the cloud and the map data’s. The ECUs of autonomous vehicles undergo rigorous testing as their failure may cause serious harm to the occupants of the vehicle and pedestrian. ECUs of autonomous vehicles also have a firewall against hacking and cybercrimes as the vehicle can be controlled and stolen.
Adoption of telematics and human machine interface ECU modules is on rise with rise in trend of cab sharing services. Companies such as Volvo have laid emphasis on collision safety. This has led to the development of advanced driver assistance features such as blind spot detection and automatic emergency braking. The use of such advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features in premium cars are boosting the ECU market for automotive. Electric and hybrid cars use a number of ECUs such as battery control module and powertrain control module. The rise in demand for electric and hybrid vehicles is estimated to boost the ECU market for automotive.
The ECU has a high price and thus low segment vehicles avoid offering assistance features and is a restraining factor for expansion of ECU for the automotive market.
The global ECU market for automotive can be classified based on application, vehicle, vehicle technology, sales channel, and geography. In terms of application, the global ECU market can be segmented into five types. Powertrain and safety are the leading segments based on application, owing to rise demand for fuel saving technologies and advanced driver assistance systems.
Based on vehicle, the global ECU market for automotive can be segmented into passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. The number of first-time vehicle buyers in developing countries such as India, China, Brazil, and Mexico is rising, thus boosting demand for passenger vehicles. The passenger vehicles segment is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period. The dependence on electronics and demand for luxury vehicles have spurred the need for ECUs in passenger vehicles and is thus driving the ECU market.
Based on vehicle technology, the market can be divided into electric, hybrid electric, plug in hybrid, and autonomous vehicles. Sales in the plug in hybrid segment have increased consistently in Europe and North America. The segment is estimated to dominate the ECU market.
In terms of sales channel, the global ECU market can be segmented into OEM and aftersales. OEMs are the leading suppliers of ECUs as the systems are factory fitted and cannot be overridden. The OEM segment is expected to continue to dominate the market during the forecast period. Accidental damage and system failure are expected to contribute to demand for ECUs in the aftermarket.
In terms of geography, the ECU market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is a leading auto manufacturer. The market in the region is expected to be highly attractive. Europe has a high number of luxury car makers, and given the number of ECUs deployed in such vehicles, the region is significant for the market.
Key players operating in the ECU market are Robert Bosch GmbH, Continental AG, Denso Corporation, Delphi Automotive PLC, Autoliv Inc., Hitachi Automotive, Takata Corporation, and Magneti Marelli S.p.A..
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