Home > CIOE News > CIOE&TSR Webinar: Changes in the automotive camera lens module market surrounding Chinese and Japanese players

CIOE&TSR Webinar: Changes in the automotive camera lens module market surrounding Chinese and Japanese players

2021-12-13 22:32:48Source:CIOE

On November 30, a web seminar was jointly held by CIOE and Techno Systems Research (TSR) under the theme of "Changes in the automotive camera lens module market surrounding Chinese and Japanese players," Mr. Reiya Mori, an analyst at Techno Systems Research Co., Ltd. who gave a presentation this time, has directly interviewed major Japanese, Chinese, and Korean optical manufacturers as well as manufacturers of lens module related materials regarding the lens module market for automotive cameras. In addition to the current situation, he has exchanged a wide range of information on future business issues and development trends.


The lens module market for automotive cameras is expected to expand, and lens modules with sensing functions will become the center of the market in the future. In anticipation of this trend, many existing and new lens module companies are focusing their business on the development and deployment of lens modules with sensing functions. However, in order to ensure stable sensing performance, these products will require high precision in materials used and processing of parts. In addition, the development of related devices is becoming necessary to realize automatic driving. As a result, lens module manufacturers are beginning to consider the use of new materials, changes in processing manufacturers, and improvements in manufacturing processes. On the other hand, product prices are decreasing as more and more optical manufacturers continue to enter the market from other fields, hoping for the future potential of the market. In addition, the spread of EVs and self-driving cars is expected to bring about a drastic change in the supply chain structure of the lens module market, making it difficult for existing manufacturers to maintain their current market share in terms of volume. In order to continue business in this changing market, it will be necessary to add value or lower prices, and players who can go beyond the scope of lens module assembly and collaborate with manufacturers in other industries to promote development will have an advantage.

 

Mori san shared TSR's view on the outlook for the automotive camera lens module market. He said the number of lens modules installed in each vehicle will increase in the automotive camera lens module market as ADAS becomes more sophisticated and widespread, and as automated driving becomes a reality. As a result, the shipment scale will expand from 185 million units in 2021 to 649 million units, or 3.5 times the scale, in 2035. In terms of value, sales in 2021 will be 850 million US dollars, and this will grow to 3.1 billion US dollars by 2035. The core of the growth in these markets will be lens modules for sensing cameras. In terms of volume, these products still account for only 30% of the market, but in terms of value, 60% of the market is already accounted for by lens modules for sensing cameras. As lens modules for sensing cameras will be used in ADAS and automatic driving in the future, they will become more precise and pixel-rich, use more stable materials, and be larger in size. In addition, there is a possibility that new related devices will be added to stabilize the sensing performance, and the unit price of products may remain high. In response to the future expansion of the market centered on lens modules for sensing, existing players are already shifting their business and development focus to lens modules for sensing.

 

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Regarding the question if the power structure of the lens module players will change drastically in line with the change in products in the lens module market. Mori san shared that lens modules currently mainly from China and Japan, led by China's Sunny optical, occupy the top position in the market. This structure is unlikely to change significantly in the near future, from 2021 to 2022. However, some Chinese lens module manufacturers are beginning to gain strength and increase their market share, such as in the Chinese market, where they are being used for automatic driving and ADAS.


The top Japanese manufacturers are also focusing their business on lens modules with sensing functions. In the future, more and more manufacturers will develop products and businesses from a perspective other than volume, and the power structure in terms of volume will change.

 

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With the topic of the specific types of lens modules with sensing functions that will become the center of the market in the future, Mori san believed that first of all, lens modules for front sensing, which detects the front of a vehicle, will become more important in the future. This will be used in sensors for automatic braking, lane keeping, and sign identification. This market is expected to grow steadily in the future, as automatic braking is becoming mandatory worldwide. At present, most of the sensors are used for ADAS, but in the future, they will need to be used for automatic driving, which will require high precision in each component and material to stabilize the sensing performance. In addition to the replacement of aspheric lenses, the shift to aluminum barrels, and the increasing size of lens modules, the precision of surface treatment such as anodizing and thin-film molding technologies will also become more important. In addition, flare-cut-sheets inserted between lenses will also require changes in materials and processing manufacturers, and the level of difficulty in development will increase as related devices become more precise.


Another important product is the lens module for View+Sesning used in Rear and Surround. At least four of these modules are installed in each vehicle, and many plastic parts are used to reduce the price. However, in order to use them in automated parking systems, there will be a shift to plastic materials with less dimensional change and the use of aluminum lens barrel. Furthermore, as automatic parking systems become more common, it will become necessary to add functions to prevent fogging of the lens and to remove water droplets that interfere with the sensing itself. In order to realize automatic parking systems, there is a possibility that there will be a major change in the lens module structure, such as the development of coatings, the use of heaters, and a renewal of the barrel design.


More recently, lens modules for in-cabin use in driver monitoring and other applications have been attracting the attention of new manufacturers, especially those aiming to enter the market. This product is still in its infancy and uses a lot of resin material.

Currently, the main focus is on driver monitoring for ADAS, but after 2030, the use of glass lenses and products with high pixel resolution will be developed in order to support driver monitoring for automated driving. On the other hand, for occupant monitoring targeting the passenger and rear seats, resin is expected to be actively used to keep prices down as multiple lens modules are increasingly mounted. Furthermore, the use of wafer-level-optics technology is beginning to progress, especially for products that require miniaturization and lower prices, and is expected to start being used in some cases by 2025. If the demand for miniaturization and price reduction continues in the future, there is a possibility that lens modules based on this wafer-level-optics technology will become popular.

 

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So, what changes will occur in the lens module market in the future? Mori san thought there are two major points. First, there is a change in the number of players entering the market. There are still many manufacturers from other optical fields other than automotive who are planning to enter the automotive lens module market. For example, manufacturers of smartphones, security cameras, digital cameras, and other optical components are moving to enter the market, and considering the increase in the number of manufacturers of related devices for automotive lens modules, the number of players entering this market will continue to increase. The reason behind this is not only the expansion of the automotive lens module market, but also the targeting of the market that will expand beyond automated driving. In addition, the manufacturers that select lens modules are not limited to the existing Tier 1 and Tier 2 manufacturers, but are also beginning to include car OEMs and software solution vendors in their selection of components. This is due to changes in the vehicle structure and supply chain caused by the shift to EVs and automated driving, and it is not surprising that the supply chain in the market for lens modules for automotive cameras is also undergoing drastic changes.


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These changes in the players entering the market are likely to result in new optical manufacturers increasing their presence in the market and existing manufacturers flexibly changing their strategies rather than aiming to maintain their market share in terms of volume.


This change in the direction of their strategies will be another point of change in the market. With the current diversification of product development directions, lens module manufacturers will need to focus their development resources on either value-added products or responding to the low-cost lens module market.


In either case, however, in order to differentiate themselves from the competition, manufacturers will need to go beyond the existing lens module manufacturing process and strengthen their ties with camera module design and assembly, as well as work with material and processing manufacturers to develop related devices.

 

Moreover, how can we gain an advantage in this rapidly changing market for automotive camera lens modules? Mori san pointed out that it is important to keep up with new trends. In particular, the number of players in the lens module market is increasing, competition is intensifying, and product prices are becoming lower. On the other hand, there is a possibility that the supply chain for EVs and automated vehicles will be restructured in a different way than before, and the specifications required for lens modules will become more diverse.

 

At the end of the speech, Mori san mentioned that CIOE as the world's largest optics exhibition will be the ideal platform for international players to follow automotive camera lens market trends in China, and the perfect place to find potential customers and partners. CIOE 2022 - Precision Optics Expo & Camera Expo, will gather 900+ leading companies to showcase the entire optics industry. Furthermore, the camera products and technologies are arranged in one hall with 20,000 exhibition area to better categorize and present the entire supply chain. Join us at CIOE 2022, and reserve your prime booth to find more potential business opportunities in China.


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Cassie Wang

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