Technologies once reserved for military use are more and more often finding application in automotive electronic systems, according to the latest study from market research firm ABI (Oyster Bay, NY). For example, head-up displays, originally developed for fighter planes, are now commonly used in high-end vehicles. In the report, "Vehicle Safety Systems: World Markets for Stability Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Other Next-Generation Technologies," a wide range of technologies are highlighted in addition to the now-familiar Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers that can be found in many late-model cars. The study offers insights into how advanced technologies that began life in the laboratories of military contractors, including wireless technologies, radar technologies, and lidar - laser altimetry used for mapping, are being installed in vehicles to detect surrounding vehicles and objects. In the near future, these systems will be able to track pedestrians, scan vehicle blind spots for hazards, and ensure that a vehicle stays in its proper lane.

The study explains how automotive applications, such as tire-pressure monitoring, electronic stability control, adaptive front lighting, and precrash safety systems, offer tremendous opportunities for developers of wireless and other advanced electronic technologies. According to Frank Viquez, ABI's Director of Automotive Research, "many Tier One automotive suppliers have engaged in strategic partnerships with defense technology providers. The result is a host of highly sophisticated automotive safety and convenience systems to be introduced over the next few years." According to research findings, current and emerging applications will eventually converge to form an electronic safety net around a vehicle. The collective market for these converging systems is estimated to exceed $10 billion by 2008. More information on the study is available at the ABI website.

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