Of all the applications for sensor technology—and they are legion—automotive applications are the most influential on the market overall. Car makers are extraordinarily demanding in terms of robustness, reliability, and price—and this fact drives quality and price in other applications. But while these demands generate many innovations, the sensors developed to meet them often need customization for effective use elsewhere.
Take accelerometers, for instance; they're the focus of our recent article, Automotive Propels Consumer Sensors. Oh sure, consumer products also make great demands in terms of pricing ("In the consumer market, low price is usually second only to supplier selection-sometimes to the extent that features are slashed until the price can meet the customer's target cost."). But the consumer market presents other demands that conflict with those of automotive applications-and this impacts product design.
No matter what your application, time is money-and even small design changes can make a critical difference.