Sony integrates image sensor with an AI chip for a smarter camera

Sony says it’s part of an effort to develop AI-equipped cameras.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
Sony AI chip image sensor

Sony's new image sensor with AI processing.


Sony has announced an image sensor with artificial intelligence processing, calling it an intelligent image system for smarter cameras. The processor will make for faster data transmission, better security and less power consumption, Sony said Thursday. It's part of an effort to develop AI-equipped cameras.

Sony, a top image sensor maker, says it's the first in the world to equip an image sensor with AI image analysis and processing on the logic chip -- the sensor comes with a stacked pixel chip and logic chip. "The signal acquired by the pixel chip is processed via AI on the sensor, eliminating the need for high-performance processors or external memory," Sony explained.

It could make real-time object tracking possible, Sony added.

The IMX501 will ship as a sample package product in June 2020, and has a 12.3MP intelligent vision sensor and 4K video. It will cost ¥20,000 (approximately $186).