A decline in the military market for uncooled infrared imaging technology has created a shift toward commercial businesses faster than expected, according to the French company Yole Développement.
According to Yole's Uncooled Infrared Imaging Technology and Market Trends report, the trend will continue because of established and new consumer applications such as personal vision and smartphones.
The report says uncooled infrared camera market experienced a sharp downturn in 2012: though total shipments slightly increased by one per cent, overall revenue fell by 12 per cent to $1.8 billion. This steep fall was mainly due to the weakness of the military market, which has been historically the main revenue generator.
This shift toward commercial and higher volume markets will be confirmed in the 2013-2018 period, said Yann de Charentenay, senior analyst at Yole. He added: 'We are expecting 23 per cent growth in shipments fuelled by four commercial markets showing a compound annual growth rate above 20 per cent: automotive, surveillance, the young ultra-low-end thermography market, and finally by the rise of infrared imaging in smartphones.'
Although 2012 sales were disappointing, Yole Développement predicts that the automotive market will be the number-one growth driver, even if sales remain limited to premium cars until 2017. The surveillance market is also likely to grow in the coming year, the company says.