Sony Corporation announced the release of a back-illuminated, time-of-flight (“ToF”) image sensor which is 1/2-type, VGA resolution and it delivers improved depth sensing performance. Sony will start shipping sample units in April 2018. The new sensor is part of Sony’s DepthSense™ lineup, a group of depth-sensing image sensor products with range finding capability, and it is the first product in the lineup to adopt a back-illuminated ToF configuration.
Sony’s high-capability image sensors give cars the gift of sight in this new demonstration showcasing the possibilities for contributing to the advent of fully autonomous driving. As demand rises for technology that allows automobiles to detect their surroundings in 360-degrees during various driving situations, Sony’s advanced image sensor technology can capture information about its environment faster, more accurately, and more precisely than the human eye.
Compact sensors that can provide accurate depth maps are used for various applications such as gesture recognition, object recognition, and obstacle detection, as well as for robotics and drones that require autonomous operations, or virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality systems, for which market expansion is anticipated. The small size of the new product was achieved thanks to development of a 10µm square pixel, with highly accurate distance measurement performance from close to far distances, which can be used in a wide range of applications in these fields.
Additionally, because this sensor captures depth maps for each frame, it enables image capture at a higher frame rate than when using a laser to scan the object for distance measurement. This reduces distortion of moving subjects in depth maps.