Recently, Sony announced that it will release two intelligent vision sensors – imx500 and imx501. It is reported that this is the first image sensor with AI processing function in the world. Imx500 can apply standard image recognition algorithm to single video frame in 3.1 Ms. Google’s movidius sensor takes seconds to process the same data.

It is understood that the size of the two image sensors is 1 / 2.3 inch, back illuminated CMOS, support shooting 12.3 million pixels of still images, and support 4k60p video recording. This specification seems to be consistent with the parameters of many mobile phone cameras, but the two CMOS will be used in retail and industrial fields, such as counting the passenger flow of shopping malls and monitoring shelf inventory.

The built-in chip of AI CMOS strengthens the problem of privacy and data security

The reason why they are hardware level AI image sensors is that the two image sensors are integrated with a logic processor and memory, so that each module can be converted into a microcomputer. Compared with the traditional CMOS, the built-in chip of AI CMOS can perform AI tasks, identify, analyze or count the interested targets, and at the same time, it does not need to share the information with another chip. It also strengthens the problems of privacy and data security, and is expected to achieve near real-time analysis and target tracking. In short, some algorithm tasks of NPU can be directly passed through AI CMOS The hardware will do it.

Sony said, “adding AI processing function to the image sensor itself can realize high-speed edge AI processing and only extract necessary data. When using cloud services, it can reduce data transmission delay, solve privacy problems, and reduce power consumption and communication costs.”

Sony offers examples of in store cameras launched around the world to track shoppers’ behavior and make cash less purchases. Faster and cheaper AI sensors will improve the efficiency of camera tracking many customers in the store, and create heat maps to monitor behavior, provide flow control, and even determine who violates the distance specification or does not wear a mask in this era of social distance. They can also be used for product inventory tracking.

Sony is a major supplier of image sensors for Apple’s iPhone and Nikon cameras, and the first batch of sensors are being delivered to commercial organizations for evaluation. It is expected to be introduced to consumers early next year.

It is reported that Sony’s two AI CMOS prices are 10000 yen (about 661 yuan) and 20000 yen (about 1323 yuan). In addition, Sony has released CMOS samples of imx500 to potential customers, and imx501 will be released next month.

Editor in charge: PJ

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