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Autonomous driving and the already existing applications in this area have great potential for the microelectronics industry. The printed circuit board market for these applications is growing by roughly 5.5% annually; by 2020, the electronic components are expected to account for a share of 35% of the cost of cars, and even 50% by 2030 (Source: Statista 2018). With printed circuit boards for driver assistance systems such as distance measurement, lane change assistance and navigation systems, AT&S has already positioned itself as a technology leader at an early stage in the past.
Now AT&S is expanding its technology competence with an investment project of roughly EUR 40 million and will produce high-frequency printed circuit boards for applications which are used, for example, in sensors for distance measurements at the existing sites in Nanjangud, India (near Bangalore) and Fehring, Austria (South East Styria) starting in May 2018 (India) and March 2019 (Fehring). Both plants will continue to expand the relevant competences in close coordination and in synergy.
The new capacities will contribute to increases in revenue and earnings in the Automotive segment, which currently accounts for 33% of the Group’s total revenue together with the Industrial and Medical segments. CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer said: “We were one of the pioneers in HDI technology in the automotive sector and with this expansion we intend to consolidate our position in the future. This step is fully in line with our strategy to generate growth through technology. This is a significant technology leap for both sites. As a result, we will continue to be the technology leader in India as well, far ahead of the competition. We consider India a very lucrative future market for us.”
For autonomous driving, great volumes of complex data have to be transferred securely in split seconds. These advanced applications require high-frequency printed circuit boards, which not only serve as a connection platform for the electronic components, but also exercise the functions of antennas and filters, for example. AT&S is globally leading in this area and has developed printed circuit boards which deliver the necessary performance in the frequency range up to 80 GHz. These technologies provide the basis for powerful radar components (long-range radar with 77/79 GHz) in driver assistance systems and are thus an indispensable prerequisite for autonomous driving.