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Institute sees future for car electronics

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- According to Topology Research Institute (拓樸產業研究所), with the advent of the fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband network and autonomous driving technologies, the global market for automotive electronics is poised to see explosive growth through 2020, at the compounded annual rate of 8.5 percent.

The global automotive electronics market last year grew by 7 percent, reaching US$191 billion in scale, the institute said, adding that the figure is poised to reach US$205 billion by the end of this year.

As wireless broadband and cloud computing technologies mature, new applications may be developed, leading to boundless revenue potential as new market niches arise, the institute said.

Cars are now classified as consumer-end devices along with smartphones and tablet computers, the institute said, and the app store business model is expected to extend to automobiles in the near future.

This year's Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas saw a slew of new automotive electronics applications unveiled by international players such as Intel, IBM, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Nvidia, signifying the emergence of a new trend in the global technology sector, the institute said.

Among automakers, Audi unveiled its driver assistance suite, co-developed with Bosch, while Mercedes-Benz previewed its system of sensors to help motorists maximize fuel efficiency. South Korea-based Kia Motor showcased a prototype vehicle in which drivers may control functions by performing hand gestures in front of the steering wheel.

Meanwhile, Internet giant Google also announced its Open Automotive Alliance, in a bid to promote the proliferation of its Android mobile operating system for automobiles. According to the institute, the U.S.-based company may view automobile electronics as the next viable battlefront, following its less than stellar forays into the notebook and desktop computer markets in the past. Taiwanese companies are also expected to replicate their success in releasing smartphones based on Google's operating system in the fledgling automotive electronics market.

The institute, however, advised Taiwanese companies to focus their efforts on developing a "sticky" user experience to gain loyalty among consumers.

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