Sony is the largest CMOS image sensor vendor worldwide and its products mainly go to the consumer sector. Weakening demand for smartphone has impacted the business's recent performances, but Sony has been strengthening its car-use image sensor technology after acquiring Toshiba's image sensor plants in Oita, Japan. With growing popularity for driving assistance systems, Digitimes Research expects demand for car-use image sensors to pick up and reach a scale of US$900 million worldwide by 2020.
In the short term, from 2016-2018, most countries will include automatic emergency braking systems as an item for evaluating car safety, and in 2018 night sensor functions are expected to be included. Strengthening image sensor's ability will become a key direction for image sensor makers. As for the long term, by 2035, one in every four cars will feature semi-automatic or full-automatic driving technology and each of these cars will use up to 19 image sensors.
Digitimes Research expects the car-use image sensor market to grow from US$440 million in 2015 to US$900 million in 2020. Sony's developments for car-use image sensor are focusing maintaining stable black level in high-temperature environments, reducing signal noise, developing high dynamic range imaging and enhancing image recognition in bad weather.
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