Public Release: 

Emerging Technologies shift the automotive industry into top gear

Technical Insights Transportation Industry Information Service: Assessment of Emerging Automotive Technologies

Technical Insights

San Jose, Calif. - June 12, 2003 - Emerging technologies are changing the face of the automotive industry as we know it, as they increasingly transform the cars of today into more sophisticated, intelligent entities.

"Car manufacturers are increasingly incorporating different technologies - fuel cells, sensors, telematics, and lightweight materials - to meet growing consumer demand for greater safety, comfort, convenience, and fuel efficiency," says Technical Insights Research Analyst Jayanthi Kamalaratnam.

All these technologies are changing the way the automotive industry operates. Micro-electromechanical system (MEMS)-based sensors are expected to gain favor over previously used electrochemical-based sensors. Silicon-based MEMS are ideal for automobiles since they are extremely durable, easily reproducible, and can be integrated with other electronic systems.

Touted as the cleanest source of energy because they use hydrogen to generate power, fuel cells are sparking great excitement. With increasing investment in their development by governments and companies alike, fuel cell-powered cars could well be the cars of the future.

Telematics looks set to make the consumer's driving experience safer, more convenient, and secure by facilitating inter-connectivity between the occupants of the car and the world outside, while lightweight materials show great promise in substituting conventional materials to enable better fuel economy.

However, all of these technologies face multiple challenges; for instance, they are often expensive to make and integrate. Fuel cells when used in cars usually use pricey platinum as a catalyst. The navigation system in a telematics-empowered vehicle is relatively expensive, as are some sensors and lightweight materials.

Fuel cells face significant problems in storing hydrogen. Sustained research is now presenting potential ways to address this difficulty; among them, metal hybrides and carbon nanotubes are emerging as feasible solutions.

Similarly, the availability of numerous less expensive options that perform the same services as a telematics system is threatening the adoption of this technology. Cell phones, radios, and even simple paper maps can be used for traffic updates, navigational assistance, or even to summon help in an emergency.

"The challenge, therefore, is to find a cost-effective way to mass produce these technologies in a way that makes them truly commercially viable," concludes Kamalaratnam.

New analysis by Technical Insights, a business unit of Frost & Sullivan (, Transportation Industry Information Service: Assessment of Emerging Automotive Technologies, studies the evolution of cars from mere modes of transportation into intelligent entities with the introduction of emerging technologies such as fuel cells, advanced sensors, telematics, and lightweight materials.

Technical Insights will hold a conference call at 3:00 p.m. (EDT)/ 12:00 p.m. (PDT) on June 19, 2003 to provide a summary and analysis of the latest developments in select automotive technologies. Those interested in participating in the call should send an email to Julia Paulson at with the following information for registration:

Full name, Company Name, Title, Contact Tel Number, Contact Fax Number, Email. Upon receipt of the above information, a confirmation/pass code for the live briefing will be emailed to you.

Frost & Sullivan is a global leader in strategic growth consulting. Acquired by Frost & Sullivan, Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and reports. This ongoing growth opportunity analysis of emerging automotive technologies is covered in Sensor Technology Alert, a Technical Insights subscription service, and in Automotive Sensors and Electronics, a Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights technology report. Technical Insights and Frost & Sullivan also offer custom growth consulting to a variety of national and international companies. Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.


Assessment of Emerging Automotive Technologies D251

Julia Paulson
P: 210.247.3870
F: 210.348.1003

APAC: Pramila Gurtoo
DID : (603) 6204 5811
Gen : (603) 6204 5800
Fax : (603) 6201 7402

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