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Year of writing: 2020
Author: D.Y.

Sony CES 2020: Sony's electric vehicle layout

Use CES to briefly talk about Sony's CMOS image sensor, an important part of self-driving cars

The week-long CES 2020 has come to a successful conclusion. As the world's largest electronics show, CES is certainly the best time for various technology companies to show their strength, even traditional big companies such as FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) leader P&G (Baoqiao), cosmetics companies Laiya has participated in this technology event and launched interesting and fun technology applications, which shows that AIoT will be more popular in our lives. This year's highlights are focused on 5G applications VR/AR, AI application robots, Micro LED screens, and automotive electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and automotive technology.

Sony Concept Car CIS


In terms of automobiles, the traditional car manufacturer Mercedes launched the AVTR Avatar concept car; Audi launched the AI: ME concept car for a new living space; BMW launched the theater-like I Interaction EASE concept car. Not allowing these car manufacturers to be more beautiful, Sony unexpectedly moved out a Vision-S pure electric self-driving concept car at the 01/06 pre-show press conference. This probably robbed the PS5 of the limelight. Could it be Sony also Are you going to start producing cars? Although Sony did not specify whether this concept car has a chance of mass production and some car-related news, we believe that the purpose of this car is to show Sony's application in automotive electronics, not from which Sony products and these products can be combined in the driving car. For the development of self-driving cars, there is no need to directly produce cars, but to increase the application of automotive electronics.

The Vision-S vehicle is equipped with 33 sets of different sensors, including Sony CMOS image sensor (CIS) and ToF sensor, so that the car can monitor the situation outside the car 360 degrees, and the level of autonomous driving technology can reach Level 2 and above, and the ToF sensor can detect passengers, providing a more excellent mobile experience. Sony Vision-S not only showcases Sony’s sensor technology, but also uses Sony’s entertainment system in the car. It also echoes the concept cars of other car manufacturers. The future car will not only be a means of transportation, but also a family As well as the third living space outside of work, large-area screens, theater-style surround sound, and entertainment systems with better user experience will all become necessary in the car. At present, manufacturers equipped with Sony CMOS image sensors include Lexus and Toyota. For these sensing technologies, accuracy, detection speed, and smooth operation in harsh environments are required in the face of wind, sun, and rain every day. After all, compared with mobile phones and headsets, automobiles have a higher threshold for higher risks. Therefore, various manufacturers are actively developing ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) while choosing high-precision and rapid-response systems. Sensors are necessary.

Sony CMOS CIS Customer

Sony Automotive CIS customers

CIS introduction

The full name of the CIS sensor is CMOS IMAGE SENSOR, and the CMOS is a complementary metal oxide semiconductor. It is briefly explained that CMOS is a photosensitive element that can convert images into a signal that the computer can understand, while CIS is It is a sensor made of CMOS.

CMOS Image Sensor CIS

Sony-the overlord of CIS

The CIS derived from high-end CMOS happens to be one of Sony’s best areas. In the past, Sony began to develop the chip industry, but few people know that since the 1970s, Japanese companies began to develop into the chip industry, first focusing on technology. DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) with a lower threshold. However, as South Korea, Taiwan and other countries joined the DRAM competition in 1980, Japan's advantage in DRAM gradually disappeared, so it began to develop system-on-chips and move towards niche At this time, Sony began to develop CMOS and launched the world’s first stacked structure CMOS. According to a survey by Yole, a market research agency, Sony has a 42% market share in CIS, making it the largest CIS factory. Mobile phones are currently the largest application area of CIS, and the lenses of our mobile phones will also be equipped with CIS. Although the sales of mobile phones are gradually slowing down, the camera technology required by mobile phones is higher. Therefore, the sales of CIS have grown against the trend. In the field of mobile phone applications, Sony It is indeed dominating one side, supplying high-end CIS to most mobile phone manufacturers headed by Huawei and Apple; compared to Sony’s achievements in the mobile phone field, Sony did not launch CIS products for cars until 2014, which is extremely backward in the market. In the past, Sony was in the car. The market share in the application field is low, losing to ON semi and Weir. Moreover, in the future, self-driving cars, led by automotive CIS, have great potential. In recent years, the highest growth rate of CIS application is in automotive CIS, IC Insight It is estimated that the compound annual growth rate will be as high as 30% by 2023, so Sony is bound to also want to attack the automotive field, and it is not difficult to understand why Sony launched Vision-S at this CES.

The importance of CIS to Sony

Research on Sony’s 2018 annual report data shows that CIS-related applications are classified into Imaging & Sensing Solution (image and sensor business) accounting for about 10% of overall revenue. Although it does not account for a high proportion of mobile phone or game revenue, Sales of mobile phones have stagnated in recent years, and games have become increasingly competitive. Therefore, CIS has the opportunity to become a new driving force. According to Yole's statistics, the CIS market will reach US$17 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach US$24 billion in 2024.

Sony CIS Revenue Share

Among Sony’s products, CIS has the highest profitability, reaching 19% in 2017. Although the profitability of all Sony products dropped slightly to 16% in 2018 due to the increase in R&D expenses, it is still a high profitability among all Sony products. Rate. According to our estimation, in order to enter the field of automotive CIS, Sony's CIS research and development costs will increase in recent years, and the time for automotive electronic certification is longer, and profits will not increase immediately, resulting in a decline in profitability. After this period of R&D certification, profitability and revenue will have the opportunity to have amazing performance.

Sony CIS Profit Margin


Taking advantage of Sony’s technical capabilities in the field of mobile phone applications, coupled with the large-scale production advantages brought by high market share, CIS is an IC product that can be mass-produced, and its early investment is high, and the economies of scale are obvious. Sony is bound to be used in vehicles. The field will have good prospects.

Thank you for reading. More detailed CIS industry introduction will be released in the future. Welcome to subscribe and share.

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