Image sensors convert light to electrical signals, and this market is expanding, led by mobile applications. Here, growth is focused on multiple lenses, larger sensors, and sensing capabilities. In AV applications, the highly value-added segment is growing. With advances in AI and the IoT, ongoing market expansion is also seen in new areas such as automotive, factory automation, and security applications. Although the maturity of smartphones may slow growth for a while, image sensors are expected to fulfill an increasingly vital role in society and industry.
Sony’s image sensors are used in many applications around the world. Smartphones, digital cameras, automobiles, and security cameras are only a few applications. We currently hold the world’s top share on the basis of revenue, at over 50% of the global market.* Since Sony’s CCD image sensors were put to practical use in the world’s first color camera on passenger aircraft in 1980, we have steadily developed image sensor technology. The ensuing era of CMOS image sensors surpassed human vision in performance, and these advances will continue in the future.
Drawing on unmatched technical expertise throughout development, design, and production, we will keep growing as the leading company in image sensors.
* Source: Sony
Image sensors will remain a key Group focus, as we pursue further advances in our leading imaging and sensing technology and growth in each market segment. Collaboration, M＆As, and other tactics in various industries will create new use cases as we seek growth in both hardware and software.
In hardware, we will be investing aggressively to meet robust CMOS image sensor demand in the medium term. We intend to maintain the leading position worldwide in imaging while capturing the lead in sensing applications.
In software, we will be incorporating edge AI processing and combining software with sensor hardware. A goal here is to establish a recurring revenue business model. Toward this end, we will be considering partner strategies and concrete action in the software space.
Leveraging stacked CMOS image sensor features, the Group is embedding AI in image sensors to make sensors intelligent.Combining imaging and AI enables a quantum leap in quality.Combining sensing and AI enables unprecedented application-side recognition, machine vision, and more. The possibilities are unlimited. Until now, images sensors have generated data from the perspective of how people see the world. In the future, they will generate data from the perspective of AI, expanding the boundaries of our world.
To integrate edge AI into the hardware of CMOS image sensors, the Group is establishing a range of technologies. We believe bringing real-time operation and intelligence to CMOS image sensors will give them a competitive edge. Our layering technology, which uses an original copper-copper connection, provides greater freedom in integration between the pixel and logic section and promises to greatly expand the potential of CMOS image sensors.