Sony has developed a car sensor that can determine objects within 300 meters and track objects within 15 cm even in low light. Sony aims to make it a key technology for autonomous vehicles.
This sensor is a time-of-flight sensor, which can measure the time required for the reflected light to return. It will be incorporated into lidar technology, which is a radar-style technology that uses light to help autonomous vehicles "see" roads and objects.
The sensor uses a pixel chip. The so-called pixel chip, combined with logic circuits, can detect even weak light. In this way, high-precision measurements can be carried out at long distances, and reliability under severe weather conditions can be improved. Concentrating these elements on one chip also helps reduce the cost of lidar.
Sony’s goal is to commercialize the sensor by 2022 and sell it to lidar sensor manufacturers.
At the same time, Sony is applying the technology to advanced CMOS image sensors for smart phone cameras to develop new industrial applications.