Samsung’s Next-Gen Camera Sensors Could Feature On-Sensor AI Processing

With the intention of improving their AI-based image sensor technologies and taking on market leader Sony of Japan in the next-generation market, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are moving forward with commercializing “on-sensor AI” technology for image sensors. The image sensor industry at Samsung Electronics is also quickly integrating AI. In 2027, Samsung plans to build image sensors that can even detect the unseen as part of its long-term business ambition to commercialize “Humanoid Sensors,” which can perceive and replicate human senses.

SK Hynix presented their advancements in on-sensor AI technology development at the “SK Tech Summit 2023” last month. Instead of standard sensors relaying picture information to the CPU for calculation and inference, this technique embeds an image sensor onto an AI chip, processing data directly at the sensor level. This advancement is expected to enable evolving Internet of Things (IoT) and smart home applications by reducing power consumption and processing time.

Key academic conferences, such as the International Conference on Computer Vision and the IEEE EDTM seminar on semiconductor manufacturing and next-generation devices, have hosted presentations by SK Hynix on their on-sensor AI implementation technologies, which include AI software and AI lightweighting. The aim of ushering in the era of “proactive AI” by progressing from generating AI through high-performance intellectual property, short- and long-range communication solutions, and system LSI humanoids based on sensors mimicking human senses was highlighted at the Samsung System LSI Tech Day.

The corporations’ efforts to create on-sensor AI technology are perceived as a tactic to seize fresh needs related to AI and augment their market share. After suffering due to COVID-19, it is currently starting a new development phase, expanding its application beyond mobile to include robots, autonomous cars, and extended reality devices.

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