SONY Gets Into The Car Parts Biz With A High-Sensitivity CMOS Image Sensor for Automotive Cameras

SONY, known for their groundbreaking Walkman music player and other innovative audiovisual devices, figures it's time to stop walking and get behind the wheel instead. Scheduled for mass-production in December of 2015, the IMX224MQV CMOS image sensor for automotive cameras is the company's first component approved for use in the commercial automotive sector.

SONY Corporation officially announced the commercialization of the IMX224MQV CMOS image sensor at an October 16th, 2014 news conference in Tokyo, Japan. The sensor boasts the world's highest sensitivity levels of any image sensor of its kind. According to SONY, the sensor is capable of capturing high-resolution color images even in light conditions as low as 0.005 lux.

In layman-speak, that's a light level roughly equivalent to that of a moonless night. In the images above, at left is a screen-shot captured with conventional technology and at right, the same image captured by the IMX224MQV sensor.

The sensor had to meet a stringent set of specifications in order to clear it for use in automobiles. In achieving the requirements of the AEC-Q100 electronic component reliability test, the IMX224MQV has cleared the final hurdle to use in all types of vehicles.

“This is our first sensor exclusive to cars,” stated a Sony spokeswoman, “and we have decided to tap into the segment because we see the market as having great growth potential.”

There is indeed a bright future for automotive CMOS image sensors: not only are cameras on cars increasingly used to assist with parking and safe driving (at night as well as by day), the technology is essential to the effective and reliable functionality of automated vehicles like Google's self-driving car... and its projected legion of successors. (via WSJ Blogs and