Automotive chips are progressing towards high performance, high integration, and high reliability to meet the escalating complexity and technical requirements of the automotive sector, with ongoing technological innovations poised to expedite this evolution.

A recent IDC report, Worldwide Automotive Semiconductor Market Forecast, 2024 categorises automotive chips into distinct segments: analogue chips, logic chips, microprocessors, memory chips, discrete devices, optoelectronic devices, and sensors.

The rapid penetration of use cases is driving the expansion of these chip categories.

“The automotive semiconductor market is currently undergoing a pivotal phase of rapid advancement and transformation, witnessing a surge in demand across all automotive semiconductor types,” says said Adela Guo, research director at IDC Asia/Pacific.

“Concurrently, various semiconductor technologies are displaying a high level of innovation and integration in response to the requirements of emerging applications such as autonomous driving, smart cockpits, and intelligent networking.”

IDC predicts that by 2027, the semiconductor market will see significant growth. Logic chips, memory chips, microprocessors, analog chips, optoelectronic devices, discrete devices, and sensors will collectively drive substantial revenue increases, fueled by advancements in autonomous driving, ADAS, and vehicle functionalities:

* Logic chips will generate revenue exceeding US$8 billion by 2027. The demand for high-performance computing (HPC) chips will continue to grow in tandem with the progression of autonomous driving technologies and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

* Memory chip revenue will surpass $7-billion by 2027. As vehicle functionalities increase, the demand for storage capacity experiences a significant rise. Memory chips are swiftly expanding their capacities to accommodate larger volumes of source code, map data, media content, and log information. At the same time, the adoption of high-speed interface technologies such as Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) and Universal Flash Storage (UFS) is becoming a prevalent trend to facilitate real-time data processing and instantaneous feedback.

* Microprocessors are anticipated to capture revenue of over $15-billion by 2027. As vehicle functionalities become more sophisticated, microcontroller units (MCUs) and microprocessor units (MPUs) need more computing power to process large amounts of data and execute intricate algorithms. Existing automotive MCUs and MPUs are incorporating more functionalities. Moreover, there is an increasing number of MCUs and MPUs tailored for specific automotive applications, such as battery management systems in electric vehicles or visual processing for autonomous driving.

* Revenue from analog chips will surpass $17-billion by 2027. These chips will integrate additional functions to achieve reduced noise, higher accuracy, and quicker response.

* The market size of optoelectronic devices is projected to exceed $8-billion by 2027. Optoelectronic devices will develop towards high performance, precision, integration, and cost-effectiveness.

* Discrete devices will report revenue of over $11-billion by 2027. These devices will feature enhanced efficiency, heightened power density, and miniaturisation. For instance, discrete devices made with wide-bandgap semiconductor materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) are gaining popularity due to their superior efficiency and high-temperature resistance.

* The sensor segment will log revenue of over $9-billion by 2027. Automotive sensors are progressing toward the direction of integration and intelligence to not only gather data but also conduct preliminary data analysis and processing, thereby improving response speed and accuracy.

“With the continuous technological advancements and increasing market demand, automotive semiconductors are set to maintain their central role in promoting the intelligence and electrification of the automotive industry,” adds Guo.