Sony is the largest supplier or CMOS image sensors worldwide, with about half of its production capacity reserved for mobile device image sensors. However, according to a DigiTimes report, the company is now looking to expand its position in the market for automotive image sensors, where rivals On Semiconductor and OmniVision are currently the largest players.

As a consequence Sony is planning to allocate a larger portion of its sensor production capacity for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and other automotive electronics applications.

Self-driving vehicles have been identified by sensor suppliers as a major growth area that will generate elevated demand for image sensors in the near future. According to DigiTimes sources, automotive is expected to overtake mobile devices as the leading application for CMOS sensors and will be first among all auto electronics segments, with major growth kicking in during 2018.

According to Digitimes, increasing demand for CMOS sensors through high-end smartphone and automotive applications could be bad news for consumers as the average unit price of CMOS sensors is expected to rise. The global market volume for CMOS sensors is forecast to increase to nearly US$13.8 billion in 2020, up from US$11.2 billion in 2017.