In a plan to develop less expensive 3D surround-view camera systems for entry and midrange vehicles, Magna International will partner with Japanese microchip supplier Renesas Electronics Corp.
It's Magna's latest move to capitalize on a growing global market for rearview and 360-degree cameras.
Analysts expect the market value for camera-based driver-assistance systems to grow to between $15 billion and $25 billion by 2020. Magna forecasts the segment to be worth about $10 billion per year by 2020.
The camera business is booming for the Canadian auto parts giant.
Magna's power and vision division, which includes cameras, lidar and radar, posted adjusted earnings of $358 million in the first quarter, up $30 million from the same quarter in 2017. It was the biggest adjusted earnings increase of all four of the supplier's divisions and helped the company post record net income of $660 million in the quarter, up 14 percent from a year ago.
Magna and Renesas say the camera they're developing will enable automakers to spread 3D camera technology more broadly throughout their lineups, bringing normally expensive camera options to lower-end vehicles.
The announcement came days after Canada became the latest country to mandate all passenger vehicles be equipped with backup cameras. The U.S. has a similar law.
NHTSA estimates the cost to equip a light vehicle with a camera system, including an onboard screen, is between $132 and $142 for a complete system, but just $43 to $45 to add the camera to a vehicle that already has a display screen.
Stratistics Market Research Consulting calls Magna "a key player in the vehicle camera market." The research company says high-end camera systems cost about $200 while those considered affordable cost up to $100.
A European automaker will be the first to integrate the 3D surround-view system into a future vehicle, the companies said in a joint statement last week, but did not identify the customer.
The technology will combine Magna's 3D surround-view camera system and Renesas' system-on-chip technology, which integrates the camera into the vehicle's computer systems.
The system gives drivers a realistic, 360-degree view of the area surrounding the vehicle. Magna calls it "a significant upgrade to the bird's-eye view offered by existing parking assist systems."
Drivers can adjust the view of their surroundings with an onboard interface, while object detection alerts drivers about obstacles in their path.
The system "minimizes integration time and development costs, making the system an easy, cost-efficient option for automakers," Magna said.
Shinichi Yoshioka, senior vice president of Renesas' automotive solution business unit, called the partnership "an important step in delivering cost efficient 3D surround-view system across vehicle classes."
He said in a statement: "Automated driving systems require scalability to address the wide range of requirements of car consumers."