Nippon's 92 cents sensor gains amid growing interest in robot cars

By Staff Writer

Apr 12, 2016 07:22 AM EDT

The market share of Nippon Ceramic's 92 cents sensor increased amid the growing interest in the autonomous driving sector. The 1-inch wide sensor was designed for self-driving cars, an expensive business project launched by technology and automobile firms. The shares of Nippon have increased over 40% in the previous three years and market researchers expect the company's profits to double within 2018.

The Japan-based sensor maker, which is widening its production capacity, anticipates demand to increase almost double over the following five years, Bloomberg reported citing Shinichi Taniguchi. Automakers like Ford Motor and Toyota Motor along with technology companies like Google, Alphabet, and Baidu intend to unveil robot cars within the next five years.

IHS Automotive anticipates global revenue for autonomous driver features like backup braking and accident cautioning to double to nearly $17 billion within 2021. Nippon Ceramics seeks to benefit from this growing interest for the autonomous driving market. The demand for self-driving cars will stimulate the sale of sensors and Nippon being the largest sensor maker will gain a major share in the market, Taniguchi said.

The ultrasonic sensor maker intends to invest as high as $9.2 million in order to widen its Philippines manufacturing plant. In addition, the company is negotiating with a self-driving sensors provider in Europe to buy the sensors from an outside source, an approach that might improve its market share additionally. Nippon sells sensors indirectly to automakers. The company first sells the product to firms like Panasonic and Denso, which later install them into electronics structure for General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota.

While the US regulators are on the verge of issuing safety guidance for self-driving cars, auto experts want the government to slower the process. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) along with the officials of American Association of Motor Vehicle is working to design a model state rule, which would gradually create the path for a steady rule for the entire nation.

Reuters quoted Paul Scullion, Association of Global Automakers' safety manager, who said that "NHTSA should not bind itself to arbitrary, self-imposed deadlines at the expense of robust and thoughtful policy analysis." The agency has pledged to complete autonomous cars instructions within July. The California government declared a state rule in December, requiring robot cars to poses brake pedals, steering wheel, and throttle when moving on roads.

According to John Simpson, project director at Consumer Watchdog, the autonomous cars cannot manage the daily traffic situations on roads without the interference of human. Meanwhile, the agency has scheduled a summit on April 27 to discuss on the use of robot cars on roads.

NEWSFACTOR reported that Google is aiming to test its robot cars on Phoenix roads to evaluate its performance in the scorching summer condition in Arizona. Till now, the company has tested 54 autonomous cars in the Mountain View of California.

Both automakers and technology firms are racing to introduce their self-driving cars in the market. The race in the robot cars sector has boosted revenue growth of sensor makers like Nippon Ceramics.

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