Technology Megatrends and Solutions to Build the FutureFollow article
The world of technology is an ever-expanding part of our daily lives. Over the past decade, we've seen everyday activities forever changed by faster, smaller, more efficient and feature-rich devices that we previously could have only dreamt of. The humble cell phone has transformed into a smartphone that offers orders of magnitude more computing power than the systems onboard the spacecraft that took us to the moon. Automobiles have evolved from simple machines that transported us from point A to point B into complex systems with sensor arrays capable of autopilot driving and running solely on electricity.
What trends will we see continue in the next decade, and how can we as engineers help build the future?
The Internet of Things, Smart Cities & Industry 4.0
It seems nearly every new gadget contains connectivity of some sort; connected thermostats controlled remotely from your smartphone, refrigerators that tell you when you’re running low on milk, and even smart clothing that measures muscle activity.
Further expanding on the Internet of Things is the advent of the Smart City. This transformation has already begun in cities around the world. Street lamps are being turned into digital hubs containing cameras and sensors, and smart irrigation systems are downloading forecasted weather conditions to optimize water usage. Common themes critical to the success of the Internet of Things and the Smart City are the abilities to sense, control, and communicate in both an energy and cost efficient manner.
ON Semiconductor is a leading supplier of Industrial-grade solutions spanning all of these capabilities. Our unique sensor portfolio extends to imaging, where ON Semiconductor is the established market leader in security and surveillance. The comprehensive connectivity portfolio supports multiple wired and wireless protocols and includes the industry’s lowest power RF solutions ideal for IoT applications. Robust solutions for motor control, protection, and power and battery management complete the comprehensive coverage from ON Semiconductor.
Autonomous and Electric Vehicles
The use of imaging in the automobile is moving from simple backup cameras to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) enabling safety and convenience features like adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and driver drowsiness detection. Radar, LiDAR, and ultrasonic sensors are also being implemented by many OEMs to advance their automated or autopilot driving systems and to eventually support fully autonomous transport. Vehicle electrification brings challenges beyond the automobile and into the city infrastructure. If electric vehicles are to succeed, efficient and cost effective methods of generating, storing, and transferring electricity will need to continue to improve, and implementation will need to be expanded globally. OEMs have already begun creating self-sufficient charging stations complete with solar panels and battery storage, enabling them to be placed in strategic and often remote locations to seamlessly facilitate trips that exceed the range of the car.
ON Semiconductor is the #1 supplier of image sensors for viewing and ADAS systems and offers comprehensive solutions for active safety, fuel economy, emissions control, powertrain and body electronics applications. ON Semiconductor is committed to rigorous quality standards that address the demands of the automotive industry.
Increased Power Density and Efficiency
Today, consumers demand smaller solutions with ever-increasing functionality, leaving engineers to solve complex efficiency and design size challenges. The proliferation of new materials and technologies such as Gallium Nitride, Silicon Carbide, and highly integrated modules have enabled power density and efficiency levels that were not previously possible. While wide bandgap components are generally more expensive than their Silicon counterparts, system-level size and cost reduction is often possible due to the elimination, or reduction of passive components required.
ON Semiconductor offers GaN and SiC devices along with a vast portfolio of compact and efficiency power solutions.
Mobile Health Care
The medical industry is in a period of tremendous change. We’re now able to remotely monitor critical vital signs with non-invasive and cost-effective devices that were previously only available in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Examples include fitness bands that help users lead healthier lifestyles by monitoring heart rate and walking distance, as well as patches that wirelessly measure and transmit blood sugar levels for diabetes patients. Moving into the future, we’ll see even more functionality available in the home or controlled remotely by healthcare providers.