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Report Forecasts Increased Use of Photonics in Cars

Photonics Spectra
Nov 2007
Michael A. Greenwood

LEDs, LCDs and other photonics technologies increasingly will be used in the systems of future automobiles, according to a market report prepared by Frost & Sullivan, a global technology-research and consulting company based in San Antonio.

Although many automobile manufacturers already use photonics technologies for lighting, displays, sensors and communications systems, the technology is likely to spread to other areas, such as safety, multimedia and infotainment systems, according to the report, “Advances in Photonic Technologies for the Automotive Industry.”

The report states that photonics systems offer better performance for a number of applications than do electronics technologies. The automotive industry is likely to use more optical sensors and head-up displays for safety applications. Additionally, the multistream data transmission protocols for multimedia applications could become an integral part of infotainment and telematics solutions. The efficiency of photonics systems is prompting automobile manufacturers to develop more applications for the technology, the report states.

The report concludes that photonics possesses superior data rates, bandwidth, reliability and robustness compared with traditional approaches. Despite these advantages, photonics technology still must address issues such as cost, interoperability and high operating temperature. The research agency says that, if these issues are overcome, the number of applications likely will increase.

The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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