Sony Aims to Make Image Sensors Smarter to Expand Beyond Smartphones

Sony on Thursday mentioned it could make its cash-cow picture sensors smarter to broaden their utility, because the Japanese electronics maker seeks to cut back reliance on a saturated smartphone market.

The firm said it has developed the world’s first picture sensor with an built-in synthetic intelligence (AI) processor, which may carry out duties comparable to figuring out the dimensions of a crowd, scanning bar codes and monitoring a driver’s drowsiness – all in a single chip.

As an AI processor is stacked on an image-sensing chip, the whole bundle can extract and course of information with out sending it to the cloud or elsewhere, eliminating transmission latency and lowering energy consumption, Sony mentioned.

The transfer underscores how the Japanese large, whose once-dominant place in client electronics has been eroded by Asian rivals, nonetheless has a powerful arsenal of subtle know-how in areas like sensors and robotics.

Sony’s chip enterprise earns roughly 90 p.c of income from picture sensors for smartphone cameras, capitalising on smartphone makers’ current concentrate on digital camera options as their greatest differentiator.

On Wednesday, Sony mentioned profitability of the enterprise may deteriorate this 12 months because the coronavirus outbreak has clouded the outlook of the already saturated smartphone market.

The firm subsequently goals to spice up the share of its sensing options enterprise, together with the most recent AI-embedded chip, to 30 p.c of the chip division from four p.c by the 12 months ending March 2026.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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