Samsung Semiconductor Europe GmbH (Germany) exhibited automotive CMOS image sensors, SoCs for infotainment, etc at electronica 2018.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (South Korea) announced in October 2018 that it will launch into the automotive field by releasing the "Isocell Auto" image sensors and "Exynos Auto" SoCs (application processors) (Press release). They are both based on technologies that the company developed for mobile devices. So, they are named after the "Isocell" image sensors and the "Exynos" application processors designed for smartphones.

This is a strategy similar to that of Sony Corp, which has the largest share of the image sensor market and entered the automotive field by utilizing its technologies developed for mobile devices.

A demonstration of "Isocell Auto" (source: Nikkei xTech)

120dB dynamic range

Samsung had roughly two demonstrations of automotive image sensors. One is to highlight a wide dynamic range. The company showed images taken by using an image sensor whose pixel count and dynamic range are about 2.1 million and 120dB, respectively, in a dark place. The name of the product was not shown on the exhibition panel. But, judging from the official website of Samsung, it probably showed "S5K3B5" in the demonstration (Website for ISO Auto).

The pixel count of the product is 1,944 x 1,116, and its frame rate at the time of taking images with a wide dynamic range is 30fps. Its size, pixel size and operating temperature range are 1/2.75 inch, 2.9μm and -40 to + 105°C, respectively. It complies with AEC-Q100 (grade 2).

A demonstration of the wide dynamic range. The wide dynamic range mode (left) and the normal mode (right). (source: Nikkei xTech)

7.4-Mpixel product

Another demonstration was to emphasize a large pixel count. Samsung compared video taken with the "S5K2G1" (pixel count: 3,840 x 1,920 or about 7.4 million) with video taken with the "S5K4A1" (pixel count: 1,280 x 960 or about 1.2 million), emphasizing that the S5K2G1 can take clearer images of distant traffic signs, bicycle riders, etc.

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