Tkool Electronics

By Kevin Krewell

RK73G1JTTD7680F_Datasheet PDF

By Kevin Krewell

Even if the economic downturn persists after 2020, demand for chips used in wired communication will still grow. Annual growth may not remain as high as the 8% to 11% seen in 2020, however, since many of the mentioned investments are one-time purchases that will reduce future replacement needs.

Consumer electronicsMcKinsey forecasts demand for consumer-driven chips will drop by 2% to 12% in 2020. While significant, this decrease is lower than the drop seen within wireless communication—another area where end-market sales are closely tied to local GDP.

RK73G1JTTD7680F_Datasheet PDF

Consumer electronics are faring better than wireless communication because of a recent rise in demand for gaming devices, audio equipment and some kitchen appliances as people are spending more time at home. Although this increase has partly offset the significant declines reported for other consumer-electronics products, these one-off purchases will not persist over time. The decreased demand for consumer-electronic semiconductors will extend beyond 2020.

AutomotiveSales of semiconductors for automotive applications primarily depend on car sales volume and the level of vehicle digitization and electrification. Since global automotive demand has already fallen sharply this year and will likely decline further over coming months, the automotive chip market is expected to decrease by 10% to 27% in 2020, McKinsey reports. Semiconductor companies will likely not feel any effect until late in the second quarter, however, due to the long lead times of automotive semiconductors.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV) drive chip demand since they contain more semiconductors than combustion-engine vehicles. Currently, McKinsey expects that the decline in demand for HEVs and EVs will be similar to that for other vehicles, leaving their market share constant. That said, semiconductor companies should watch out for certain developments that might increase or decrease the share of HEVs and EVs in the market. For instance, increased government subsidies may spur additional demand for HEVs and EVs, while less stringent emissions regulations or continued low oil prices might push sales down.

RK73G1JTTD7680F_Datasheet PDF

Industrial applicationsAlthough medical electronics factor into the industrial market, semiconductor demand will still drop between 1% and 11% this year, according to McKinsey. Other industrial end-markets include aerospace equipment, power and energy products, as well as upgrades to lighting solutions.

Chip demand for Covid-19-related medical devices, such as ventilators, X-ray machines, and diagnostic tools has sharply increased since the start of the outbreak. However, there will be even steeper demand declines in other areas that will offset such extreme demand spikes for critical treatment products because many hospitals are postponing purchases to improve liquidity.

RK73G1JTTD7680F_Datasheet PDF

Overall in the industrial sector, companies are expected to postpone infrastructure investments, reduce manufacturing activities, or decrease operations this year.

Signs of progressChina offers a potential blueprint for economic recovery. McKinsey, in a webinar with SEMI, estimates that China’s rigorous containment efforts could help its economy bounce back in as little as six months – a V-shaped rebound. Western nations generally have not been as forceful with their containment measures. For them, the fight against the pathogen could be prolonged, deepening the economic damage.

More specifically, Lumotive pointed out that LCM chips, using tunable sub-wavelength elements based on metamaterials principles, make Lumotive’s lidar systems more reliable and more compact,” compared to traditional mechanical spinning lidars. Further, the new beam-steering technology can offer larger aperture for greater range” than MEMS-based lidar systems.

Double whammyLumotive’s Colleran expects some shakeout among players later this year in the once over-heated lidar market.

While he appears confident that Lumotive’s differentiated technology can get it through the turbulent times, the basic tenet of Lumotive’s story varies little from other tech startups who joined the AV fray because of what looked like a red hot market.

The initial scenario plotted by the AV industry — anticipating market growth for lidars — indicated that demand would start with a robo-taxi segment where money seemed no object. Then the boom would sweep up ADAS.

In the last eight to ten months, however, the sequence has flipped,” Colleran acknowledged. Given the industry’s current reckoning that fully automated vehicles will take a lot longer than originally anticipated, the first go-to market for lidars is now in ADAS or industrial applications — not self-driving cars. That reversal demands that lidar technology suppliers make their systems available at a much more aggressive price point, while meeting with different performance.

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