Mobile & consumer is the main segment representing 46% of the total 3D imaging and sensing market in 2026.
It is followed by the automotive and industrial segments, which will both represent 22% of the total 3D imaging and sensing market in 2026.
Stereo, Structured light and ToF are the 3 common 3D sensing technologies.
LiDAR, when paired with autonomous driving, is a hot technology. However, it is still in its infancy… Laser triangulation in machine vision and Interferometric (OCT) in medical are well established.
Apple continues to adopt structured light in its whole lineup and Apple included a 3D rear camera in iPhone 12 Pro to the benefit of the 3D camera component suppliers: ST, Sony, ams, Lumentum and Largan, and module makers LG Innotek and Sunny
“In mobile markets there is a temporary hiatus in the growth of 3D sensing due to the ban of Huawei in the US as well as the fact that the Android camp has abandoned the technology,” says Yole’s Richard Liu, “the shipment volume of 3D sensing products recorded in 2020 is about 80% of the previous forecast. The gap between previous optimistic forecasts widened as sales leveled off. But under-display camera technology became mature, and there are more low-cost iToF sensing solutions. These could drive higher 3D sensing adoption and a return to growth around 2023”.
3D sensing technology has a broad reach in the consumer market, including tablets, VR/AR , robot vacuum cleaners, and AIoT .
Increased labor costs and manufacturing upgrades are accelerating development of automation and machine vision, including 3D visual systems, increasing 3D vision penetration every year.
Electric vehicles have ramped up in 2020, which also exploit advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS), and the market is currently booming. Automotive will be a large part of the next wave of 3D sensing adoption, reckons Yole.
ST and Lumentum are the most profitable component suppliers, followed by ams, II-VI and LG Innotek.
The Android camp is less healthy. Neither the emitter component suppliers, such as Trumpf and Vertilite, nor the receiver companies, like Omnivision and PMD Technology, have benefited much.
The good news is that they’re already actively working on 3D sensing in the non-mobile space, such as Vertilite in automotive and PMD in consumer applications. Within this 3D imaging and sensing ecosystem Sony remains an exception. It is not only the leader of iToF sensor arrays, but also the only manufacturer that can provide dToF sensor arrays for consumer applications. It is very competitive.
Analysts will not be surprised if Sony keeps its number one position no matter how the market changes. “The 3D sensing market is developing rapidly and offers great opportunities” says Liu, “in addition to the mobile phone market, automotive ADAS and AR are set to be big 3D sensing applications. In 2020, the rapid growth of electric vehicles with very high intelligence and ADAS brought LIDAR adoption forward. This has attracted a wide range of players, from LiDAR suppliers in traditional industries like Valeo and Velodyne to electronics giants Sony, Huawei and start-ups like Livox and XAOS”.
In all the 3D sensing markets, China is an emerging market. It shows great vitality not only in the 3D back-end application market but also in the 3D front-end supply chain.
This has been driven by the policy of China cultivating local supply chains in the middle of the US-China trade conflict.
Facial payment has been driven by platform vendors AliPay and WeChat, and supported by technology provider Orbbec.
In 3D machine vision, Hikrobot and Huaray are starting to compete with the likes of Sick and Lucid.
In the automotive, the entry of Chinese players has played a decisive role in the price decline of LiDAR.