Sony Update: Sony debuts in automotive market with new recognition sensor


The Japanese technology firm announced a new range of vision sensors with which it wants to carve out a position in the upcoming autonomous vehicle industry.

The Japanese technology firm Sony is determined not to be left out of the next great market for autonomous vehicles that promises to be a highly profitable market in the following years, and in the most recent edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2020) in Las Vegas, presented a new range of vehicle recognition sensors with which it seeks to gain a position as an industrial supplier.

It is a variant of its 3D sensors for smartphones that it has promoted since the beginning of 2018, but the difference is that the range of devices presented at CES 2020 for automotive are vision sensors that, according to company executives, are designed to facilitate the tasks of recognition of obstacles and exterior of robotic cars without apparently any bias or errors in their readings.

According to Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO of Sony, the proposed goal with this new family of components is to offer car manufacturers a low-cost option to facilitate their integration efforts and to increase their profit margins.

“Smartphones probably had the biggest impact in the 21st century in terms of influencing people’s lives. Mobility is what follows”, mentioned Kenichiro Yoshida in a statement published by the North American newspaper Financial Times.

Sony’s vision sensor is part of the category of Lidar sensors, which are devices allowing to determine the distance from a laser emitter to an object or surface using a pulsed laser beam.

Lidar sensors have played an important role in the configuration of autonomous vehicles, since they are symbolically the eyes of the car itself, since it is helped by these to recreate the objects that surround it and define its movement and evasion maneuvers.

It is worth mentioning that most Lidar sensors tend to have large dimensions and tend to be damaged due to how fragile they are when they are placed on the top of the vehicle in a kind of rotating turret, which makes them a very delicate replacement. Consumers should constantly replace their units.

One of the advantages defended by Sony with its new device is that it is built with materials that make them more durable in this hostile environment composed of high temperatures and sudden movements, similar to what happened with the arrival of solid state drives for data storage units, which have more benefits compared to traditional optical discs that are susceptible to vibrations or shocks in a computer equipment.

Since 2018 Sony has achieved better financial results thanks to the design of 3D sensors for smartphones than with the sale of cell phones under its brand. With the new range of automotive sensors, the Japanese firm intends to position itself as an important supplier of these components for robotic car manufacturers.

With its new Lidar chip, Sony is challenging other technology startups such as Aeva, based in California (United States), which recently announced the launch of what it called the smallest and most performing Lidar sensor in the industry, in a single chip with various embedded modules as part of its internal architecture.

As a company with more industrial support, Sony will use this advantage to produce sensors in large volumes and this will allow it to reduce its final costs, which will be more interesting for automotive companies considering that their operating strategies are directly linked to the costs offered by its service providers and auto parts.

According to Techno Systems Research, during 2018 Sony was positioned as the fifth most important participant in the group of suppliers of image sensors for cars with 3% of the total world market, and although it is still far from on the heels of ON Semiconductor (62%) and OmniVision (20%) have already entered the game, which they hope to pick up with the release of their new low-cost Lidar vision sensors.

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