Tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) have been widely deployed to address safety and environmental issues on all types of vehicles across the globe. Currently the European Union, the United States, South Korea and China have introduced TPMS legislation with Japan, India, Russia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia also moving towards legislation for the implementation of mandatory TPMS.

Tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) have been widely deployed to address safety and environmental issues on all types of vehicles across the globe. Currently the European Union, the United States, South Korea and China have introduced TPMS legislation with Japan, India, Russia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia also moving towards legislation for the implementation of mandatory TPMS.

There are two methods of monitoring the tyre pressure – direct and indirect. The direct method (pressure sensing within the tyre) is the most accurate while also being able to provide other vehicle data. The sensors are usually situated at the base of the tyre valve and will take a direct pressure measurement and transmit the data via an RF link back to the ECU within the vehicle.

The system operates in an adverse environment and has to account for variations in temperature and manufactured parts, so each one has to be calibrated and programmed at chip level prior to installation. It then is required to maintain its accuracy over its lifetime, while coping with the typical automotive requirements and conditions. Power budget and efficiency are also crucial elements with the system having to provide a 10-year operational lifetime from a button battery power cell.

Direct TPMS not only addresses safety, environmental and legislative requirements but also enables additional value-add features to be provided on the vehicle, including providing actual pressure and temperature values by tyre position to the driver or remotely through vehicle connectivity, empowering drivers to quickly identify and address tyre issues or enabling remote tyre health monitoring for personal, fleet, shared or autonomous vehicles.

Safety Improvements

Globally, governments are realising the positive effects that TPMS has on both on safety and the environment and this is driving the increase in the uptake. Initially it was the USA with the introduction on the Tread Act back in 2000 – the aim to was improve the safety of vehicle by preventing tyre blow outs – that first started the ball rolling. In Europe, driven by the desire for CO2 reduction, TPMS legislation was introduced in 2009, with the implementation being phased from 2012 with 100% compliance by 2014.

Following the lead of European and US and Chinese legislation, Asia will be the next region that adopts TPMS technology.

The global TPMS OEM market size was more than 40 million sets by the end of 2015, of which, the European Union had the largest market share of 38.7%, followed by the United States with 28.4%. In the future, with mandatory installation of TPMS in more countries and regions as well as steady growth of automobile market, global TPMS industry will usher in rapid development. It is predicted that by 2020, the global TPMS OEM market size will increase by approximately 80% from the 2015 volume.

The global TPMS market is controlled by Sensata Technologies/ Schrader who account for nearly 50% of the global market followed by a further four suppliers with a combined contribution that accounts for another 40%. The TPMS chip market is led by Swindon Silicon Systems who designs and supplies Sensata Technologies/ Schrader with all of its semiconductor needs in this market.

The TPMS market is a multi-million dollar market which will significantly grow as more regions introduce legislation to adopt the technology. Current estimates are $4billion by 2021. The preferred choice is the direct TPMS system, which provides more accurate pressure information, whilst the costs are comparable to the other systems.

The evolution of automotive technology is moving at a rapid pace with car sharing, connectivity, electrification and autonomy requiring an ever increasing need for more accurate environmental and vehicle data. The development of these technologies within the ASIC roadmap is crucial for the tyre mounted sensor and the features it will enable.

There will be a constant drive to include more and more functionality in these devices whilst capping the power budget. This requires specialist knowledge to achieve and the leading solutions are ASIC based.

Any ASIC provider not only has to be capable of proving a high quality and reliable system that adheres to the strict automotive standards, but also has to be able to support the devices over their lifetime. The tyres on vehicles are crucial to the safety of all road users and as such the TPMS system utilising ASIC technology has become paramount in increasing the safety standards on our roads whille also helping to improve our environment.

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