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Time-of-Flight (ToF) Sensor Market

Time-of-Flight (ToF) Sensor Market: Information by Type (Range-gated Imagers), Application (AR and VR, LiDAR), End-User (Consumer Electronics, Automotive), and Region — Forecast till 2030

Published On : 11 Oct, 2022
Updated On : 12 Oct, 2022
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Market Snapshot

Base Year:
2021
Study Period:
2020-2030
CAGR:
17.44 %
Fastest Growing Market:
North America
Largest Market:
Asia-Pacific

The global time-of-flight (ToF) sensor market size was valued at USD 3.28 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 13.93 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 17.44% during the forecast period (2022–2030). A time-of-flight (ToF) sensor is an imaging device that takes pictures by emitting light pulses. ToF sensors produce images with extremely high-depth information by measuring how long the emitted pulses take to travel to the object and return. The measurement range can change depending on several variables, including power output and camera resolution. High-resolution and low latency rates enable precise distance measurement up to a few meters in various applications, including AR/VR Technology, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR). This sensor uses a single infrared light source to measure the time it took an object to hit it and translate that measurement into the distance. The system calculates the time required for a laser pulse to be transmitted, reflected off a target, and then returned to the sensor.

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Market Dynamics

Global Time-of-Flight (ToF) Sensor Market Drivers

Growing Use of Machine Vision Systems in Different Industries

ToF enables cameras to transmit infrared light signals, measure the time it takes for those signals to return, and then utilize that data to determine depth. ToF cameras and sensors can measure distances precisely with a single laser pulse. ToF camera sensors spread throughout industries and into commonplace applications thanks to their accuracy. ToF cameras are beneficial for 3D imaging and enhancing augmented reality experiences because they can measure distance and volume. Object scanning, indoor navigation, gesture recognition, and obstacle avoidance processes can all be improved by using 3D ToF imaging technology. 3D ToF imaging technologies have a promising future because of their advantages.

Rising Demand for Smartphones with 3D Cameras

A ToF camera employs time-of-flight techniques to measure the round-trip time of an artificial light signal produced by a laser or an LED to calculate the separation between the camera and the subject for each image point. Businesses can implement structured light technology in smartphones' front-facing cameras, enabling precise and secure facial recognition applications. Adding a ToF camera to a phone's rear-facing camera for better portrait mode and AR applications may help measure mid to long-distance 3D imaging more accurately. Furthermore, ToF camera sensors are now a crucial component of contemporary flagship smartphones and might remain so in the future.

Global Time-of-Flight (ToF) Sensor Market Restraints

Unwanted Reflections

There are various uses for ToF sensors, and they also have a few disadvantages. Due to the possibility of light being reflected more than once when utilizing the ToF sensor on corners and concave shapes, these features may produce undesired reflections and impact the measurement's accuracy. Due to the fact that the ToF sensor requires just once-recalled light for the size, highly reflective surfaces in close proximity to it can cause artifacts and undesired reflections. ToF cameras can be tricky to use in bright sunshine because the intense sunshine may soon cause the sensor pixels to become saturated, preventing the detection of light reflected off an item.

Global Time-of-Flight (ToF) Sensor Market Opportunities

Growing Utilization of Premium Smartphones

The high-end smartphone market, which has an increasing demand for 3D facial mapping for features like facial unlocking the phone, is embracing the Time-of-Flight camera sensor. In the Honor View 2.0 model, for instance, a 48-megapixel sensor and the ToF camera work together to optimize portrait mode photography. Honor is a smartphone brand owned by Huawei Technologies. Smartphone manufacturers like LG and Samsung are incorporating the technology to enhance depth perception from the phone's cameras. The front and rear cameras are both equipped with ToF sensors. The new ISOCELL Vizion 33D from Samsung is a ToF 3D sensor that can track moving objects with quicker autofocus and video bokeh and provide accurate distance information. As the technology becomes more widely used, manufacturers like Infineon Technology and Sony Corporation are aligning their products to take advantage of that opportunity.

Adoption of Patient Monitoring in Healthcare

The healthcare sector is increasingly moving toward digitization to reduce the possibility of human error and make the most of the facilities and conditions currently available. The Institution of Engineering Technology and Technology claims that the development of time-of-flight-based LiDAR technology is becoming a future trend for patient monitoring systems, particularly fall detection. ToF sensor manufacturers are concentrating on making this potential trend a reality to capitalize on the market opportunity in healthcare. For instance, in October 2020, Omron introduced a 3D time-of-Flight Sensor Module that aids in patient-monitoring systems, particularly in elderly-care systems.

Segmental Analysis of the Global Time-of-Flight Sensor Market

The global time-of-flight sensor market is segmented by type, application, and end-user.

On the Basis of Type

Based on type, the global ToF sensor market is bifurcated into RF-modulated light sources with phase detectors, range-gated images, and direct time-of-flight imagers.

The range-gated imagers segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.14% during the forecast period. ToF Range-Gated Imagers have an integrated shutter. Light pulses travel at the same speed as the shutter. The shutter blocks a portion of each returning pulse based on when it arrives, so the amount of light received is proportional to the pulse's travel distance. The device enables low-cost, high-resolution 3D underwater imaging. This range-gated solution improves image quality and enables real-time 3D measurements by eliminating close-range backscattering. This technology is expected to become a standard for underwater 3D imaging to support ocean economy growth and defense applications.

The direct time-of-flight required for a single laser pulse to reflect onto the focal plane array after leaving the camera is measured by direct time-of-flight (dToF) imagers, another type of ToF sensor. This technique also referred to as "trigger mode," allows for capturing full 3D scenes with a single laser pulse and yields complete spatial and temporal data. Rapid scene information acquisition and real-time processing have been made possible by this methodology. LiDAR is an example of a dToF technology. Most LiDARs are built at medium or long ranges (>100m), as short-range accuracy would suffer from minute changes in the internal timing.  

On the Basis of Application

Based on application, the global ToF sensor market is bifurcated into augmented reality and virtual reality, LIDAR, machine vision, 3D imaging and scanning, and robotics and drone.

The 3D imaging and scanning segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.14% during the forecast period. ToF 3D sensor technology fires a precisely guided laser light in nanosecond bursts, which is reflected from the scene onto a high-resolution image sensor and provides an estimate of depth for each pixel in the image array. High-resolution ToF systems are expected to play a vital role in enabling autonomous robots and machines to recognize their surroundings and map out safe routes to complete tasks. In environments where people and cobots collaborate, 3D imaging makes it possible to implement safety features. ADI is a leading manufacturer of 3D ToF imaging components for consumer, automotive, and industrial applications.

ToF cameras and sensors can measure distances precisely with just one laser pulse. Strong 3D machine vision overcame 2D Vision's common limitations. 3D Vision can easily distinguish between the foreground and background using depth measurements. For instance, Scene understanding is necessary for gesture recognition. A TOF sensor uses distance as the differentiator to separate the face, hands, and fingers from the rest of the image and retrieve high-quality datasets for effective recognition.

On the Basis of End-User

Based on end-user, the global ToF sensor market is bifurcated into consumer electronics, automotive, entertainment and gaming, industrial, and healthcare.

The consumer electronics segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.50% during the forecast period. A TOF sensor can also be used as an input device for desktop and mobile computers. Since the Huawei Honor 20 in 2018, time-of-flight (ToF) camera technology has begun to appear in flagship smartphones. In consumer electronics, it is also used as a 3D sensor and range camera. In addition to providing object scanning, indoor navigation, obstacle avoidance, gesture recognition, object tracking, and reactive altimeters, a ToF camera sensor measures distance and volume. The sensor data benefits 3D imaging and augmented reality (AR) experiences. ToF camera sensors are smartphones for 3D photography, augmented reality, and portrait mode.

Industrial applications are seeing a significant increase in the use of ToF sensors. By allowing cameras to emit infrared light signals, the technology measures the time it takes for the calls to return and calculates depth using the data extracted. They are favored in industrial applications due to their ability to precisely measure distances using a single laser pulse. Due to their accuracy, ToF sensors are widely used in various fields and commonplace applications, including smartphones. High-power optical pulses are used by 3D ToF, which is also referred to as a type of scanner-less LiDAR, to gather depth data from a scene of interest quickly. The manufacturing sector has seen an increase in smart sensors, particularly depth sensors.

Regional Analysis of the Global Time-of-Flight Sensor Market

By region, the global time-of-flight sensor market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.

Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market

Time-of-Flight Sensor Market Regional Analysis

Regional Growth Insights Request Sample Pages

Asia-Pacific is the most significant shareholder in the global time-of-flight market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.26% during the forecast period. As a result of many manufacturing facilities and brands for consumer electronics and smartphones, China is predicted to hold most of the market for ToF sensors. By 2022, China is anticipated to be a global leader in AI technologies, and a sizable portion of the expanding sector is expected to employ AI-based cameras. The R&D in factory automation and technologies, as well as the investments made in it, are encouraged by Chinese government initiatives like the Made in China 2025 plan. The "Made in China" initiative seeks to increase domestic production of automation equipment because most of it is imported from other nations.

North America is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.04%, generating USD 3.70 billion during the forecast period. The US has one of the highest levels of technological development and controls a sizeable portion of the global TOF sensor market. The country is also home to many major MNCs that invest heavily in smart production methods and process automation, which is a crucial factor fueling the expansion of the TOF sensors market. Local vendors' development of new products is credited with the region's growth. The area has consistently been at the cutting edge of technology. For instance, Direct time-of-flight (ToF) technology is anticipated to be included in the next-generation iPhone model, possibly taking the place of the current Face ID components. The space needed for the notch should therefore be reduced due to this.

Europe, the nation is one of the world's largest automobile markets, and there are almost no new advanced vehicles sold there without safety features like ADAS. Many German automakers invest in Taiwan's semiconductor sector to obtain technological advances. By 2021, the total ADAS market in Europe was projected to be around USD 5.56 billion, with Germany likely to account for a sizable portion of that figure. As in-car use cases of ToF technologies are expanding quickly due to today's safety needs, comfort requirements, and the development of autonomous driving, such instances are likely to propel market growth in the nation. To increase their market share and product development, many German market vendors are also implementing various growth strategies, such as acquisition and collaboration.

In Latin America, the manufacturing and automotive industries drive ToF demand in the region. Regional automation and Industry 4.0 initiatives drive demand for machine vision technologies. The Brazilian government wants 15% of its industrial parks to follow Industry 4.0 within 15 years. MDIC says Brazil's policy exempts import taxes on collaborative robots used in industries to support Industry 4.0. Association for Advancing Automation (A3) established A3 Mexico to support robotics in Mexico's expanding manufacturing sector. These initiatives drive ToF demand due to the region's large auto market. NAFTA's trade between North America and Mexico benefits the region's auto industry.

The Middle East and Africa will have the lowest demand for ToF sensors due to a lack of semiconductor and electronics manufacturing. It has the most insufficient demand for ToF sensors, and Industry 4.0 initiatives boost the demand for ToF sensors in current and future manufacturing facilities. The UAE is strengthening its manufacturing sector by adopting innovative technologies. Mobilis (modern bionic limb solutions) opened a smart factory in Dubai to manufacture orthotics and prosthetics. This factory is anticipated to use robots, IoT, and cloud computing. Manufacturing companies in the United Arab Emirates are interested in deploying smart solutions to monitor installed machinery at client sites, which may require ToF sensors. Saudi Arabia is expected to lead in factory automation due to government investments in cutting-edge technologies. Future manufacturing and automation will likely rely heavily on Industry 4.0.

Competitive Landscape

List of key global time-of-flight sensor market companies

  • Texas Instruments Incorporated
  • STMicroelectronics NV
  • Infineon Technologies AG
  • Panasonic Corporation
  • Sony Corporation
  • Teledyne Technologies International Corp.
  • Keyence Corporation
  • Sharp Corporation
  • Omron Corporation
  • Chirp Microsystems Inc. (TDK Corporation)

Recent Developments

  • August 2022- Industrial Analytics, a startup based in Berlin, was purchased by Infineon Technologies AG. Infineon is enhancing its artificial intelligence software and services business in order to perform predictive analysis on machinery and industrial equipment. Infineon is acquiring all outstanding shares of the business. The transaction's value will not be disclosed per an agreement between the parties.
  • September 2022- A surgical endoscopy system with surgical visualization features such as 4K, 3D, infrared (IR) imaging above, and NBI was developed by Sony Corporation, Olympus Corporation, and Sony Olympus Medical Solutions Inc., a joint venture between Sony and Olympus, the three companies announced today (Narrow Band Imaging). In September 2022 or later, Olympus will start selling this system as the "VISERA ELITE III" in Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA), and some regions of Asia, Oceania, and Japan.

Global Time-Of-Flight (TOF) Sensor Market: Segmentation

By Type

  • RF-modulated Light Sources with Phase Detectors
  • Range-gated Imagers
  • Direct Time-of-Flight Imagers

By Applications

  • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
  • LiDAR
  • Machine Vision
  • 3D Imaging and Scanning
  • Robotics and Drone

By End-User

  • Consumer Electronics
  • Automotive
  • Entertainment and Gaming
  • Industrial
  • Healthcare
  • Others

By Regions

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Latin America
  • The Middle East and Africa
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