You cant just sit around sensing stuff -- do a bit more
Sony said it would make its cash-cow image sensors smarter to broaden their use, as the Japanese electronics maker seeks to reduce its dependence on the saturated smartphone market.
The company said it has developed the world’s first image sensor with an integrated artificial intelligence (AI) processor, which can perform tasks such as determining the size 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 complete package can extract and process data without sending it to the cloud or elsewhere, eliminating transmission latency and reducing power consumption, Sony said.
Sony’s chip business earns roughly 90 percent of revenue from image sensors for smartphone cameras, capitalising on smartphone makers’ recent focus on camera features as their biggest differentiator.
Sony said profitability of the business could deteriorate this year as the coronavirus outbreak has clouded the outlook of the already saturated smartphone market.
The company therefore aims to boost the percentage of its sensing solutions business, including the latest AI-embedded chip, to 30 percent of the chip division from four percent by the year ending March 2026.