Automobile manufacturing supplier Bosch, based in Stuttgart, Germany, has a growing lead over competitors in the microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors market. That part of its business generated $740 million in 2013, about 30 percent of the estimated $2.47 billion value of the sector, reported IHS Technology last week. That is up 13 percent from the firm's 2012 MEMS revenue.
As in the smartphone sector, MEMS are growing more common in cars. Manufacturers use them to measure accelerations, pressure in diesel cylinders, and humidity in the engine, among other things. The automotive MEMS sensors market will grow by more than 8 percent a year through 2022, MarketsandMarkets predicted last month.
MEMS will feed information into the ever-more data-hungry processors that will first assist and then replace human drivers. Bosch, which is also integrating the data streams of larger sensors (see "How Self-Driving Cars Will Sneak Onto Our Roads"), is in a good position to help carmakers make that transition.
The next-biggest competitor, Denso, earned less than a third of Bosch's revenue last year, and suffered a 21.3 percent drop from 2012 levels. IHS attributes some of the decline to currency fluctuations, since much of Denso's earnings are in Japan, where the yen fell against other the US dollar last year.
See the other top 10 suppliers below.
Lucas Laursen is a journalist covering global development by way of science and technology with special interest in energy and agriculture. He has lived in and reported from the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Mexico.