Sony Shows Off First Combination Image Sensor And AI Chip

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Sony on Thursday announced the world’s first image sensor with integrated AI smarts. The company shows its new IMX500 sensor that incorporates both processing power and memory, allowing it to perform machine learning-powered computer vision tasks without extra hardware.

The company says that this AI-powered image sensor 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. Since there will be an AI processor that is stacked on an image-sensing chip, this sensor will be able to extract and process data without sending it to the cloud or elsewhere. In this way, it will eliminate the transmission latency and reducing power consumption, the company mentioned.

Sony’s chip business earns roughly 90 percent of revenue from image sensors for smartphone cameras as most of the smartphone makers are highly focusing on their camera quality. On Wednesday, Sony said the profitability of the business could deteriorate this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

And so,  the company aims to boost the percentage of its sensing solutions business, with the inclusion of its latest AI-embedded chip, to 30 percent of the chip division from 4 percent by the year ending March 2026.

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