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Automotive Wireless Drives Magnetic Sensor Demand

The global market for magnetic sensors will increase 13 percent to $1.7 billion in 2012 as the devices are used in more automotive, wireless, and consumer electronics applications, according to researcher IHS.

The magnetic sensor market, which grew 22 percent in 2011, will continue to rise through 2016 when revenue will total $2.3 billion, IHS reported.

Automotive is a major driver of magnetic sensors. They are used in airbags, seat position memory, and navigation systems in vehicles. Sensors are also used for basic wheel-speed sensing in anti-lock braking systems (ABS), torque sensing in steering systems, electronic throttle-by-wire systems, and multiple applications in car-battery monitoring, according to IHS.

Navigation is also a driver for sensors. Magnetic sensors are needed in multiple-axis-measurement electronic compasses, which are in most cellphones and tablets equipped with global positioning systems (GPS).

Consumer electronics applications such as gaming consoles, laptops and geotagging-equipped digital still cameras also use sensors.

Magnetic sensors are needed for the measurement of currents and motion-control positioning, particularly in the industrial motor space, as well as for motor drives and solar inverter markets.

Other implementations for magnetic sensors include data processing and peripherals such as fax machines and printers; white goods like coffee machines for water-level detection; and in various military, agricultural and transport applications, according to IHS.