Increasing demand for driver assistance systems and the need for better sensors has prompted Sony to enter the market for automotive imaging sensors. Beginning in 2015, Sony will make a new sensor available that performs much better in low-light situations. Even in moonlight the sensor can produce color images, the company claims. Sony, which is a leading supplier of image sensors but so far has not entered the automotive imaging market hopes to grab significant market share from the leading automotive imaging sensor suppliers such as US-based Omnivision and ON Semiconductor (formerly Aptina).
Better sensors are crucial for the success of fully autonomous vehicles. Advanced image sensors could reduce the dependence of autonomous vehicles on costly 3D Lidar systems. Better image sensors could reduce the number of Lasers within the rotating LIDAR systems. Google’s current LIDAR sensors currently contains 64 lasers. However, it is not likely that fully autonomous vehicles operating in urban contexts will be able to operate without any LIDAR sensors within the next few years.
Sony’s entry into this market shows the potential of this market and may increase the incentives for innovative start-up companies to developing even more advanced sensors (e.g. ASCar, Inc: Flash Lidar, LeddarTech: LED flash sensor, Quanergy: 3D Lidar).
Source: Nikkei Asian Review