The global high-end accelerometer market size was valued at USD 250 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 350 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 4.2% during the forecast period (2022-2030). Accelerometers can detect shock, tilt, vibration, and acceleration. As a result, they are employed in various applications, including systems for stabilizing industrial platforms. High-grade applications primarily use high-end accelerometers to determine the magnitude and direction of acceleration. These systems' smaller sizes and lower costs are made possible by geophone, capacitive, and piezoelectric technologies. High-end accelerometers can be used in various applications, including anti-ballistic missiles and naval and aeronautical vehicles. These applications call for an operational range between 10G and 100G and a dynamic range that falls between 140 and 160 dB.
The advancement in sensor technology, the increasing number of smart devices, and the increasing adoption of these smart devices and sensor technologies across various end-user industries are major factors driving the adoption of high-end accelerometers. Furthermore, the growing adoption of MEMS technology has also significantly expanded the application base for high-end accelerometers by scaling down these devices' size and power consumption without compromising performance metrics.
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Increasing Adoption of MEMS Technology
MEMS accelerometers are widely used in inertial navigation systems, such as hand-held GPS-enabled devices and gyroscopes. To track inertial sensors' position, orientation, and velocity, inertial systems, which include accelerometers and gyroscopes, are commonly used in vehicles and other GPS-enabled devices. In several navigation devices, more than two accelerometers are used along with gyroscopes. The increased demand for navigation systems in aerospace and defense has increased the demand for MEMS accelerometers.
Furthermore, emerging sensor-rich applications in the automotive industry, such as autonomous vehicles, drones, and AR/VR equipment, further accelerate the need for MEMS sensors. Over the forecast years, the automotive industry is expected to command a significant share of the demand for MEMS, owing to the increasing number of sensors incorporated in the vehicles. With the growing demand for connected cars and the advent of autonomous vehicles, the number of vehicle sensors is expected to grow even further. The massive potential of the high-end MEMS accelerometer market has motivated vendors to invest more in R&D, as they are setting high standards for every end-product that is being developed. The increased R&D investment has led to the development of advanced versions and efficient high-end MEMS accelerometers used in new application areas.
Inclination of Growth toward Defense and Aerospace
High-end accelerometers are used in small-diameter missiles, underwater navigators, and unmanned aerial vehicles. High-end MEMS sensors are also used in military applications. Further, the significant increase in tactical grade in modern defense applications aided the growth. The increasing demand in the commercial aerospace sector is also favoring the market. A harsh and complex operating environment characterizes the aerospace industry. Thus, selecting a suitable MEMS sensor to withstand such external environmental extremities and perform at the desired accuracy, reliability, and precision is highly essential. Stability and accuracy of the altitude and position of the ammunitions are essential for attaining successful target prosecution. MEMS-based gyroscopes, accelerometers, and IMU solutions provide systems that facilitate modern munition designs. In addition, high-end MEMS accelerators are being deployed alongside gyroscopes in inertial navigation applications to calculate the direction and speed of defense applications such as ships, aircraft, submarines, guided missiles, and spacecraft. These applications include inertial navigation applications.
Operational Complexity Coupled with High Maintenance Costs
High-performance MEMS accelerometers have been able to offer at most 1deg/hr. bias stability. Errors, such as a misaligned system or one with uncompensated instrument biases, and sensor bias, which fluctuate with the sampling rate, are causing abnormalities in the functioning of high-end accelerometers. High-end accelerometers are trying for a trade-off between optimal performance and size and the power and cost metrics. Low-end MEMS technology devices have been primarily touted to displace traditional technologies compared to these devices. Calibration errors, such as scale factors, alignments, and linearity, result in bias errors and lead to additional drift in the integrated signal. These error sources vary for different accelerometers and increase the complexity associated with the technology.
Another major factor restraining the operational complexity is the maintenance costs associated with these accelerometers. If the electromechanical system fails, the troubleshooting is complex. Diagnosis is performed with several tests and component replacement actions to isolate the fault and bring the system back into operating condition. Along with these reasons, the standardization of the goods and the relatively long and expensive development cycle for a MEMS component are also projected to limit the market's growth.
Technological Advancements in Navigation Systems
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in defense and surveillance has changed the landscape for the use of navigation systems. Dynamic characteristics of the UAV and high precision in a short time have aided the evolution of effective navigation systems. Further, increased adoption of automation mode in the aerospace and defense sector, coupled with larger industrial applications, has helped research changes in conventional navigation systems. High-end accelerometers for navigational grade applications comprise guidance systems, range finding devices, aeronautics, and stabilization units. The sensors embedded in a UAV can be exposed to high accelerations and repetitive shocks during the take-off and landing of UAVs, respectively. The ROVs working underwater are also faced with high pressures. To adhere to these challenges, an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), composed of highly accurate and stable sensors, 3-axis gyroscopes, and high-end 3-axis accelerometers, is being incorporated, as these accelerometers have unbiased performances of around 1 mg.
There is also an increase in R&D investments in navigation systems, as several companies are entering into in-house production of high-performance accelerometers for commercial purposes and integrating them as part of multi-axis inertial navigation systems. Further, globally, navigation systems are being used more frequently due to the growing demand for real-time information in several applications, from the automotive industry to autonomous robotics. As technology has developed, these systems have changed to provide a variety of services and facilities for navigation, resulting in the development of a sizable service ecosystem surrounding navigation technologies.
The global high-end accelerometer market is segmented by application.
By application, the global high-end accelerometer market is segmented into tactical, navigational, industrial, and automotive applications.
The tactical applications segment accounts for the largest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3% over the forecast period. The defense and military industries mostly use high-end accelerometers for tactical applications. These devices have a working weight range of 20 to 100g, a temperature range starting at -55°C, and bias stability of less than 1mg. Tactical applications, such as military and aerospace customers, have always demanded a high degree of reliability in accelerometer performance due to the small number of measurements and the system under test's relatively high cost. The reliability requirements increase when a high-end accelerometer is permanently integrated into the system for control and monitoring purposes.
Moreover, there has been a growing demand for tactical grade, non-ITAR (international traffic in arms regulations) IMUs that can act as alternatives to heavier, larger, and more expensive fiber optic gyro-based devices. Indicative of this growing demand, Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd announced the launch of AMU30 IMU, which combines high-performance motion sensing with full attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) capabilities. Such announcements drive segment growth.
Navigational applications are the second largest segment in the global high-end accelerometer market. The next generation of navigation and guidance systems depends on high-sensitivity accelerometers, including pressure sensors, tight coupling to current GPS engines, and platform stabilization for space applications. Conventional guidance systems operate within 5g, with a bias stability range of 6-20mg. On the other hand, aeronautics navigational systems operate with a greater working range of 2g-15g, with bias stability of around 1mg. High-end accelerometers are also deployed in stabilization systems with an operating range of 2g and bias stability of less than 2mg. The motivation behind a MEMS-based inertial accelerometer for navigational applications is the need to provide a compact, affordable, lightweight, and highly sensitive replacement for current macro-scale methods. Thanks to successfully manufacturing a low-cost, highly sensitive MEMS accelerometer, new applications are made possible for both consumer and military users. Such factors contribute to market growth.
North America Dominates the Global Market
By region, the global high-end accelerometer market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World
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North America accounted for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.4% during the forecast period. As businesses in the region invest in developing cutting-edge and novel accelerometers, the creation of new high-performance accelerometers is expanding in the North American region. The primary reason influencing the rise of high-end accelerometers in the nation is the increased spending by the US defense on the acquisition of high-performance equipment. With the growing demand for the market, companies in the region are investing in the market to gain a competitive edge. For instance, Silicon Designs Inc. had earlier enhanced its MEMS inertial accelerometer series. The 2227 series includes an adjustable scaling factor that enables the end-user industries to increase accelerometer voltage output flexibility, at any specified g-range, by as much as 25%. In addition, the region has been seeing a rise in people purchasing modern automobiles, which call for high-end accelerometers with sophisticated power-saving features and an extended temperature range. These characteristics make these accelerometers the best option for non-critical automotive applications, such as telematics, navigation, infotainment, and security. Thus, the factors mentioned above fuel the market growth.
Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2%, generating USD 88 million during the forecast period. In Europe, the engagement of countries such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, in geo seismic monitoring is generating a significant need for high-end accelerometers. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the British Geological Survey reported that seismic monitoring helped to understand the level of earthquake risk in the United Kingdom and to design accordingly. Automatic processes are used to evaluate the seismic signals recorded by German seismometer stations continually and to publish the parameters of detected earthquakes as quickly as possible. As high-end accelerometers can detect ultra-low-level, low-frequency vibrations associated with massive structures, foundations, and earth tremors, they are increasingly used by European countries for seismic monitoring. The region is also regarded as one of the largest crude oil refiners in the world.
The rise in demand for unmanned vehicles, such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and remotely operated vehicles (ROV) across various areas, in both civilian and defense applications, has fueled the growth of the Asia-Pacific navigation system market. The defense sector has been a significant factor in determining the usage of accelerometers in countries. According to the latest statistical data from SIPRI, the military spending of China reached around USD 253.49 billion in 2019. Also, the growing adoption of advanced technologies and increasing investments in defense budgets in countries like Japan, India, and South Korea are creating a massive opportunity for the growth of the high-end accelerometer market in the region.
List of key high-end accelerometer market manufacturers profiled