Image sensors are bridging the gap between physical and digital worlds with the advent of industry 4.0 and smart technologies. As the entire world is headed towards smart homes and cities, image sensors are cashing in the boom of rapid automation and marching further with technological advancements, research activities and investments from the market players. The interest to uplift the research activities which catapult effective technologies for capturing, processing, and displaying of 3D images is gaining broad interest among multiple industries. These applications include entertainment, manufacturing, security, transportation, defense, and medical sectors. Furthermore, the sharp penetration of Time-of-Flight (ToF) and stereo vision technologies are surging the applications of 3D cameras equipped with 3D image sensors in machine vision, entertainment, transportation, and other imaging applications. Transportation, in particular, is undergoing seismic change with the introduction of autonomous driving. ADAS (Advanced driver-assistance systems) along with the applications of drones in road safety are few of them proliferating the growth of the 3D image sensor market. Subsequently, numerous promising applications in transportation and road safety are boosting the 3D image sensors market growth.

The global 3D image sensor market size reached a value of $2.12 billion in 2018. Furthermore, the total revenue is incrementing with a CAGR of 8.3% over the forecast period 2019-2025.

Increasing Demand for Data and High-Quality Images Boosting the 3D Image Sensors Market Activities in ADAS

The advent of camera monitoring systems (CMS) raised the bar to a greater extent in the autonomous and human-driven vehicles. There is a significant demand for high-quality images in order to decipher road signs and differentiate among the surroundings. The 2D and 3D image sensors located in the CMS reduce unwanted reflections and blind spots, thereby replacing the rear- and side-view mirrors. This further boosts the fuel-efficiency of the vehicle.

Along with that, the latest advancements in the architecture of sensors such as high-dynamic-range (HDR) sensor with high-performance computing of image signal processing (ISP) produces multiple high-quality images with different exposure levels. Furthermore, the ISP and AI together are increasing the scope for real-time processing of images using algorithms. One such instance is, Sony Corporation has unveiled its product line with AI, robotics, and automotive image sensors at CES 2018. The company specified that the initiatives of automotive image sensors contribute to the advancing autonomous driving. These instances, in turn, are boosting the performance of ADAS vision systems. Consequently, increasing demand for highly integrated vision systems in ADAS is augmenting the 3D image sensor market growth.

Smart Cities and Industry Giants Leading Innovations in North America 3D Image Sensor Market Growth

North America held a dominant part in the 3D image sensors market size with a massive share of 35.7% as of 2018. The dominance of this region is attributed to the rising number of IoT devices and smart cities in North American countries such as the U.S. Industry giants such as Intel Corporation, Micron technologies, and Omnivision technologies headquartered in the U.S are leading the innovations in the 3D image sensors market with a broad spectrum of applications in the defense, automotive, and medical sectors. In addition, smartphones, an end-user of the 3D image sensors market is anticipated to experience a sharp penetration of 90% by 2025 in North America. These endeavors together are boosting North American 3D image sensors market share.

Innovations in Interactive Interfaces Are Surging the Demand for the 3D Image Sensors Market in Consumer Electronics and Entertainment Segments

Together, consumer electronics and entertainment are the most prominent end-users of the 3D image sensors market and the growth of this segment is rising impressively, exhibiting a CAGR of 9.34% over the aforementioned period. Image sensors are ubiquitous in the areas of human-machine interaction and interactive entertainment platforms. With the rising digital era, touch and multi-touch displays are gaining prominence in the entertainment and commercial spaces. Image sensors are the ultimate solution for rising digital applications such as digital signage, self-service kiosks, mobile and gaming consoles. Furthermore, they are the cornerstones in the design of complex virtual and augmented reality systems. For instance, in order to enable hands-free operations in automobiles, in-car infotainment equipment is embedded with image sensors and speech-recognition technology. Furthermore, the 3D image sensor market scope is growing in applications such as bio-signals interpretation and eye and gaze tracking. On the other hand, the plethora of IoT smart appliances, 5G adoption, and wearable devices are augmenting the demand for the 3D image sensor market in consumer electronics and entertainment segment.

Key Players in the 3D Image Sensor Market

Companies such as OmniVision Technologies Inc., Aptina Imaging Corp., Samsung Semiconductor, Micron Technologies, Sony Semiconductor Corp., Hamamatsu Avago Technologies, and Magna Chips occupy a significant part of the 3D image sensor market share. Few of the latest activities of these players are:

·        In 2018, Sony Corporation of Japan planned mass production of 3D sensors in the research campus of Atsugi Technology Centre of Tokyo. These 3D sensors are specially designed for smartphones and augmented reality (AR) and are projected to be a part of gaming consoles, warehouse robots, industrial equipment, drones, and self-driving automobiles. Being a dominant shareholder in the image sensor market, the company is fortifying its business with this new addition.

·        In 2018, Panasonic Corporation, a Japan-based semiconductor company, announced its launch of Long-range TOF Image Sensor. This new sensor consists of time-of-flight (TOF) technology which makes use of avalanche photodiode (APD) pixels. This technology enables the sensor to capture objects as far as 250 meters in nights with poor visibility. The high-resolution and high-sensitivity TOF image sensor and its adaptability to longer distances are apt for automotive range imaging applications and wide-area surveillance systems even in the dark.

·        In 2018, On Semiconductor, a US-based semiconductor supplier for automotive, communications, consumers, industrial and medical applications, launched its latest product called AR0430 CMOS digital image sensor. This digital image sensor is a combination of 2D and 3D image recognition on a single sensor. Equipped with advanced 2.0-micron pixel stacked BSI technology and 4Mpixel at 120 frames per second resolution, this sensor is used in cameras for IoT, wearables, AR-VR, and security applications along with other industrial devices.

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