After reports of Apple working on a secret self-driving car project, a new report from Financial Times is claiming that the Japanese electronics conglomerate Sony is also working on a self-driving car project and has reportedly made a small investment on it.
According to the Financial Times report, Sony made an investment of around 100 million yen ($842,000) recently on buying a 2 per cent stake in ZMP, a Japanese startup that specializes in robot cars. Sony aims at integrating its image sensor technologies with ZMP’s robotic expertize to come up with self-driving car technologies.
Sony is now the third major tech firm to have taken an interest in self-driving cars. Google has been actively working on self-driving car technologies since the past few years and recently we heard rumors that Apple too was looking at coming out with a self-driving car of its own in the near future and has been hiring automotive experts over the past few months to work on the project.
For Sony though, it isn’t the self-driving car that is of interest. Instead, the Japanese company wants to be the leader in the automotive camera sensor market as it expects demand for image sensors in cars to expand significantly over the next few years and continue through 2030. As many as 10 cameras could be required on self-driving cars and each of those cameras is likely to be around five times more expensive than smartphone camera sensors. Analysts believe that total automotive camera shipments could hit 102 million units by the year 2020.
Source: Financial Times