Sony tries sink-or-swim EV gambit

By Junko Yoshida for EETIMES – Last year when Sony came to CES to talk about its EV project called “Vision-S,” it had a look of a marketing stunt. This year, Sony’s EV gambit seems more like a real car project.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant has a host of building blocks that make entertainment sing. Now the question is: Can Sony adapt this technology know-how to the automotive market and enter the realm of car safety?

Sony’s arsenal of technologies and media assets ranges from high-resolution imagers, time-of-flight (ToF) cameras, 360-degree spatial audio and display technologies to 5G connectivity, UI/UX for smartphones, AI and sensing technologies, PlayStation 5 and Columbia Pictures.

According to Sony, the car “represents a fusion of Sony’ technology and creativity” that will play a role in “the future of mobility, encompassing the evolution of safety, comfort, entertainment and adaptability.” As grand a plan as this sounds, it’s unclear whether this vision is what carmakers expect of Sony, or if they want to buy it from Sony.

Take, CMOS image sensors for example.

CMOS image sensors come first to mind, because imaging is one of the most important perception technologies in advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) and driver monitoring systems (DMS). Second, ADAS image sensors in 2019-20 saw spectacular growth.

“It doubled in two years, reaching $500 million in 2020, and it is still expected to grow 19 percent CAGR in the five years to come,” Pierre Cambou, principal analyst at Yole Développement, told EE Times. Cambou was citing figures from “Status of CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2020 report” compiled by Yole Développement.

Given Sony’s CMOS image sensor success with smartphones, it might seem that Sony already dominates the automotive vision market.

Not true… Full article