The automotive industry is developing into a major driving force for the memory market. In 2018, sales of automotive DRAM and flash products were estimated to be approximately 1% ($2.4 billion) of the global memory market and are expected to increase to 6% ($10 billion) by 2025. While the use of memory components in today's vehicles is still largely limited to IVI (in-vehicle infotainment), high performance and memory hungry AD (autonomous driving) systems are gaining popularity and becoming much more widespread. State of the art memory technologies have recently found their way into automotive applications despite the historical trend of relying on more mature technologies. This is the direct result of an industry responding to the demands of its technology focused customer base – which is increasingly concerned with in-vehicle entertainment and connectivity features. The explosion in infotainment systems popularity which rapidly grew from relatively simplistic monochrome navigations systems in the early 2000’s to large format, high resolution, high-performance systems, has dramatically increased the need for memory capacity – in some cases by factors of 1000 or more. Vehicles are also now communicating with the outside world and will soon be regularly communicating with each other as a prerequisite for full-scale autonomy.
This industry is on the precipice of substantial development – including the standardization and wide-spread acceptance of increasing autonomous functionality – bringing with it an exponential increase in computational power and related memory requirements.
The visibility and expected growth of this industry segment has already drawn the attention of major Korean memory manufacturers who are now preparing to focus on technologies aligned with this future demand; specifically, LPDDR4 & eMMC / UFS memory. The long-term availability of components required by the automotive industry is also an important aspect of this emerging demand signal.