Sony Aims to Make Image Sensors Smarter to Expand Beyond Smartphones

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

The corporate said it has developed the world’s first picture sensor with an built-in artificial intelligence (AI) processor, which may carry out duties equivalent to figuring out the scale 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 entire bundle can extract and course of knowledge with out sending it to the cloud or elsewhere, eliminating transmission latency and lowering energy consumption, Sony mentioned.

The transfer underscores how the Japanese big, whose once-dominant place in shopper electronics has been eroded by Asian rivals, nonetheless has a powerful arsenal of refined expertise 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’ latest give attention to digital camera options as their greatest differentiator.

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

The corporate subsequently goals to spice up the proportion 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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