TRAVERSE CITY, MI – It’s hard to believe automakers used to say they couldn’t sell safety. Now safety-related advanced driver-assist systems(ADAS) are about the hottest thing going in the industry.

“That particular piece of market is growing faster than any other piece,” Praveen Chandrasekar, consulting director-Frost & Sullivan, tells attendees here at the Management Briefing Seminars.

He says the market is expected to grow 25% annually for the next five years and hit $20 billion in annual sales by 2020, in the U.S. alone.

However, the reason collision-avoidance systems and the like are being adopted so quickly is that increasingly they are being mandated by governments, both in the U.S. and overseas.

High-volume producers such as Volkswagen, General Motors and Toyota all are adding crash-avoidance technology to their vehicles, and this is driving the boom.

However, as these devices more and more become standard equipment, they start to lose their high-tech, premium appeal to consumers as an add-on they happily will pay extra for.

Other challenges automakers and suppliers face in the ADAS and connectivity areas include developing high-quality mapping necessary for next-generation autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles.

A consortium of German automakers recently bought Nokia’s Here mapmaking unit and Chandrasekar says the group plans to make it an open platform to be shared with other automakers. While he doesn’t bring it up, it is widely believed the automakers purchased Here because they do not want third parties such as Google to completely control the mapping market.

Holistic security is another hot topic, with increasing headlines about automotive electronics systems being easily attacked by hackers. The current practice of “bandaiding” as a means of defeating hackers will not work, and automakers will have to create larger-scale, more impenetrable systems, Chandrasekar says.

dwinter@wardsauto.com