Sony also released a detailed overview of the semiconductor business (PDF file here). Over 80% of the sensors is produced for the mobile and automotive business. “Classic” Imaging business plays a small role here. But the good news for us is that the mobile/autotomitive business is a BI driver of innovation that could be implemented on Sony Alpha Cameras too.
One major goal for Sony is to integrate AI processing directly intom the sensor hardware. It’s not clear yet what benefits it will bring to us Alpha users. My guess is that object recognition and autofocus trackin can improve with that approach. Maybe the Sony A9II will be the first camera using those kind of new “AI sensors”???
This is what Sony had to say about their semiconductor business:
- We expect to leverage the superior technology Sony has developed in this business to maintain our industry-leading position going forward.
- Approximately 80% of CMOS sensor sales are to smartphones. Although this market has matured, demand for sensors continues to grow due to adoption of multiple sensors and larger sized sensors in smartphones. Demand for Time-of-Flight sensors in smartphones is also expected to increase.
- Although investment in greater production capacity over the next few years is necessary, CMOS sensor production capacity does not become obsolete, resulting in high return on investment in the long term.
- Initiatives in long-term growth prospects such as automotive sensors and Edge AI.
- Expand business through fields such as distance measurement and automotive. Sony’s automotive sensors are receiving positive external feedback.
- Stacked CMOS image sensors to be made more intelligent by embedding AI functionality to the logic layer.
- Sony will also actively pursue alliances with partner companies. Recently announced an MOU with Microsoft to collaborate in the area of AI.