Number of automotive ECUs continues to rise

Number of automotive ECUs continues to rise

Market news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The expansion follows a strong year in 2018, when revenue rose 6.9 percent from $114 billion in 2017.

“As vehicles have added more features — like infotainment, telematics and ADAS – the number of ECUs in each vehicle has increased,” said James Priyatham, research analyst, automotive electronics and semiconductors at IHS Markit. “A single modern luxury vehicle now can integrate as many as 150 ECUs.”

It is not just ECUs -the average value of in-vehicle electronics is expected to increase to $1,832 in 2030, up from $1,296 in 2018, again according to IHS Markit. The biggest drivers for the escalating amount of electronics in cars during the coming years are ADAS, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Collectively, HEV and BEV ECUs accounted for just 3 percent of the total automotive electronics market in 2018, but could rise to 15 percent in 2030. ADAS will grow to account for 29 percent of car electronics revenue in 2030, up from 17 percent in 2018.

The amount of devices in cars today is also creating new challenges. In particular, management of the number of ECUs has become complex. Now, carmakers are seeking to consolidate capabilities into fewer devices, reducing the number of ECUs in each vehicle. New electronic architectures are emerging to help manage cost, power consumption and weight. One emerging architecture is the cockpit domain controller (CDC).

The consolidation will cause global automotive infotainment electronics revenue to flatten out, as some infotainment-oriented ECUs are replaced partially or completely by a CDC.

Continental and Bosch dwarf the competition in the global ECU market with a combined 28 percent of the total ECU market in 2018.

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