The high-end inertial systems market was valued at USD 3.33 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 4.58 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 5.46% over the forecast period from 2020 to 2025. The emergence of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology resulted in the miniaturization of mechanical and electro-mechanical elements in the field of sensors and semiconductors, with microfabrication and micro-machining techniques. Therefore, MEMS has become an indisputable part of the future navigation systems, thus bolstering the growth of the high-end inertial systems.

  • High-end inertial systems comprise IMUs with high-performance sensors (gyroscopes, magnetometers, and accelerometers), to provide high-accuracy information about the surrounding environment, through relative movement. The powerful combination of IMUs with other onboard sensor data produces reliability and automation breakthroughs for applications in industries, such as autonomous vehicles, unmanned systems, and other advanced robotics.
  • The growth in the inertial systems market is majorly driven by the increasing pressure on the contract manufacturers to reduce the size of the inertial systems, to make them suitable for a broad range of applications. MEMS much support the rapid increase in portable devices, as they offer enhanced capabilities within small unit sizes. The inertial MEMS market forecast predicts a dramatic rise in the volume of inertial MEMS devices over the next five years.
  • Defense and commercial aerospace have always been the backbone of the high-end inertial systems market, and they continue to have the largest market share. The traditional markets, like defense, commercial aerospace, and space applications, witnessed a significant push, after a period of slow-paced growth from 2010 to 2015. In recent years, the market evolved positively, with increasing R&D investments across a wide range of technologies for gyroscopes.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has started a global economic crisis of significant dimensions, affecting almost all industries. One of the affected industry sectors in the eye of the coronavirus storm is aerospace. Global air traffic has been brought to an almost complete standstill by the COVID-19 outbreak. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) provided an estimation that the industry would require a cash infusion of up to USD 200 billion, as well as loan guarantees to weather the economic buffeting. Furthermore, a reduction in commercial aircraft orders is a likely knock-on effect of the global pandemic. As commercial aerospace markets have always been the primary consumers of the high-end inertial system market, the pandemic is expected to affect the market significantly.

Key Market Trends

High-end Inertial Measurement Units is Expected to Hold Major Share

  • High-performance IMUs offer a significant upgrade in terms of performance, efficiency, and accuracy, over the traditional forms of inertial navigation systems (INS). They track the study object’s position, using a method called ’dead reckoning,’ which calculates the present status of the purpose, using previously available data. The emergence of MEMS-based IMUs enables a broader adoption in defense-based applications. They are usually coupled with other forms of navigational systems, to account for bias errors. Defense-based applications deploy two inertial navigational systems to tackle redundancy and to offer high fault tolerance.
  • The automotive sector is the newly emerging market for high-end IMUs, following advancements in applications, such as stability control, safety measures, and crash detection systems. As the premium automakers are expected to approach L5 autonomous driving in the next ten years, the market is likely to open a massive opportunity for IMU-powered MEMS sensors, related to acceleration, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), and motion detection systems. In May 2019, Innoviz Technologies Ltd, a principal developer of solid-state LiDAR sensors, raised around USD 170 million to back BMW’s LiDAR-equipped cars, which are going to be rolled out in 2021.
  • IMUs are used for various defense applications, which comprise the best -in -class bias stability and performance metrics. High -end IMUs used for defense applications, has one of the largest markets in the inertial systems sector. They are widely used in defense ships, nuclear missiles, military fighters, short, medium, and long-range missiles, guided munitions, and military helicopters. The growth in the number of applications and technological advancements across the regions provides lucrative opportunities for high-end inertial measurement units.
  • In June 2019, the sensor manufacturer, ACEINNA, launched its new, open-source inertial measurement unit sensor, which is meant for autonomous off-road, construction, and agricultural vehicle applications. OpenIMU300RI will help determine the direction in a GPS and track the motion on consumer electronics. In 2019, Bosch Sensortec, a MEMS technology specialist, announced the BMI270, an ultra-low-power smart Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) targeted explicitly for wearable applications. It offers the sharply improved accelerometer offset and sensitivity performance, with the help of the latest Bosch MEMS process technology.

North America Occupies the Largest Market Share

  • The North American region occupies the largest share in the high-end inertial systems market. The significant percentage of demand for high-end inertial systems is from the maritime sector and the aircraft industry for both commercial and defense purposes. The United States allocates the maximum budget for defense spending. Nonetheless, the decrease in military spending in the past few years is expected to be offset by steady growth in aerospace and land-based applications of inertial systems in the United States, which is expected to drive the market forward.
  • However, a substantial increase in the production of helicopters and commercial aircraft in this region is also operating high-end inertial systems. The colossal aerospace industry of the United States which exports a massive share of the total aerospace production attracts many foreign firms to the United States aerospace market as it is the largest in the world, employing a skilled and hospitable workforce, with diverse offerings and extensive distribution systems, which is a primary reason for the growth of the market studied in this region.
  • According to the Federal Aviation Administration, it is estimated that the number of US carrier passenger planes may grow at a rate of 1.9% per year, due to which the application of IMU is expected to grow at a steady pace, thereby fueling the growth of the high-end IMUs. However, widespread travel restrictions around the world due to the outbreak of COVID-19 have decreased demand for traveling in the air, with more than eight in ten flights canceled. However, the US airline industry got USD 25 billion in assistance in the stimulus package to deal with the sharp downturn in business.
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reported a decline of 96% in the volume of passengers in the United States, which has not been seen since 1954. According to Airlines for America, over a third of the US fleet, more than 2,400 aircraft have been parked, with airlines burning through cash at more than USD 10 billion a month as cancellations are far outpacing new bookings. The load factors in planes have got down from 80% in January to just 11% in April. The evidence shows that the number of people flying is dropping faster than the flights, so there are many empty planes, which could significantly affect the high-end internal systems market as it is significantly dependent on this industry.

Competitive Landscape

The high-end inertial systems market is moderately competitive due to the presence of many big players in the market running their business in national and international markets. The market also appears to be moderately concentrated, with the key players adopting strategies like product innovation, mergers, and acquisition. Some of the key players in the market are Honeywell Aerospace Inc., Bosch Sensortec GmbH, Analog Devices Inc., among others.

  • May 2020 - Northrop Grumman Corporation’s SeaFIND Inertial Navigation System has been type-approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), formally certifying for its usage as a shipboard gyrocompass system for navigation for nations that need the International Maritime Organization’s compliance. The USCG certification includes the European Community’s (EC) Mark of Conformity (wheel mark) under the mutual agreement between the EC and the United States for type approval.
  • September 2019 - Honeywell introduced two new inertial measurement units (IMUs) to provide navigation in a small, lightweight package without compromising on cost. The HGuide i300 Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) IMU can be used in several industrial applications, such as autonomous vehicle testing, precision agriculture, surveying and mapping, pipeline inspections, platform control, and motion compensation. The HG4930 S-Class IMU provides high bandwidth and high data rates for precision stabilization needs, including optical sensors and satellite communication antennas.

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