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Car sensors a $10 billion market in 2006

Sales of silicon-based car sensors will reach more than $10 billion this year, up 11 percent from last year, according to a new report from research firm Strategy Analytics.

That means carmakers plan to outfit more vehicles with fancy features such as lane-departure warnings, which are still new to only a few luxury cars. Lane-departure warnings, with the use of infrared optics and cameras, alert drivers when they're headed off-road or into another car's lane.

Similarly, sensors for boosting car performance and safety will also drive the market, according to">the report. So much so that Strategy Analytics expects sales for automotive sensors to hit $15.8 billion by 2012. Start your engines, chipmakers.