Technavio has released a market research report that forecasts the global time-of-flight (ToF) sensor market's CAGR to grow 3%. The forecasts covers market outlook and growth prospects from 2017–2021.

Technavio further categorised the ToF sensor market into four application segments that includes consumer electronics, automotive, industrial and medical. Of these segments, consumer electronics accounted for almost 52% of the market share in 2016.

The growing adoption of ToF cameras is one of the major reasons behind the growth of the market. A ToF camera is a range camera that calculates distances based on the known speed of light, measuring the time required for a light signal to travel between the camera and the subject for each point of the image. A ToF sensor is an important component of ToF cameras.

AR/VR drivers

According to Sunil Kumar Singh, lead analyst at Technavio for sensors research, “The growing popularity of augmented reality and virtual reality devices, 3D scanners, and gesture recognition technologies and the high investment in driverless cars by automobile manufacturers such as Ford, Nissan, and Tesla are expected to drive the global ToF market.”

The market in the Americas is expected to show significant growth over the coming years, driven primarily by the presence of a large consumer base for consumer electronics such as tablets and smartphones. ToF sensors are dominating the market due to their low cost and low power consumption.

“The demand for camera-enabled phones has been on the rise in South America and will drive the market for ToF sensors in this region. The replacement of CCD sensors with ToF sensors in many applications will also have a major impact on the ToF sensors market. The US, followed by Canada and Brazil, is the leading revenue generating country in the region owing to the early adoption of the technology,” Singh noted.

APAC is expected to witness a steady growth in demand for ToF sensors due to the growing market for camera-enabled mobile devices, digital cameras and machine vision devices. Leading global vendors of consumer electronic products such as Sony and Samsung are based in this region, and this is encouraging growth as the region has the highest consumer base worldwide. Taiwan, Japan, China, South Korea and India are the major contributors to the revenue in APAC due to the vast number of consumer electronics manufacturing units and the growing consumer bases in these countries.

EMEA will show the lowest growth compared with the other two regions due to the low concentration of image sensor manufacturers and the relatively small consumer base in the region. Much of the growth here will be contributed by emerging economies like South Africa. Germany has the most competitive and innovative automotive industry worldwide and will contribute significantly to the ToF sensors market's automotive applications segment over the coming years.

The top vendors in the global ToF sensor market as highlighted in this market research analysis are:

  • Adafruit
  • Infineon Technologies
  • KEYENCE
  • Melexis
  • Renesas Electronics
  • STMicroelectronics
  • Texas Instruments