Increasingly, however, Hall is encountering competition from the magnetoresistive group of technologies, which include anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR), giant magnetoresistive (GMR), and, more recently, tunneling magnetoresistive (TMR) device structures. By and large, magnetoresistive technologies offer higher sensitivity, and major Hall Effect sensor suppliers like Allegro Microsystems, Infineon, and NXP have also incorporated combinations of GMR, AMR, or TMR into their product offerings. And while making up just 10% of the global shipments of automotive magnetic sensors in 2017, magnetoresistive sensors accounted for a much larger share of revenue at 19% because of their initial higher cost compared to Hall ICs.
Magnetoresistive devices will be used mostly in sensing applications that value performance and safety-critical operations, such as those propelled by functional safety, especially in autonomous driving. Examples of these applications include wheel speed, throttle position, and steering.
A new automotive economy is at hand because of the changes anticipated for electrification and autonomous driving. Sensors of all stripes—including magnetic sensors—must meet new requirements on performance for which existing technologies won’t be adequate. And in this new age, no one specific technology will be universally applicable to all sensing needs. Instead, each automotive application will determine its own best technology for use.
As a result, consumers will experience safer, more feature-rich and comfortable driving experiences. And for sensor suppliers, a newly invigorated technology market landscape means a much broader value proposition of their individual and collective offerings.