Samsung Signs $436 Million Deal With Tesla For Its First Car Image Sensor

Today Samsung unveiled the ISOCELL Auto 4AC, its first image sensor that is tailor-made for cars. It is intended to be used as a reverse camera or (on more advanced systems) to power surround view monitors. This move will put extra pressure on the current market leader in this segment, Sony.

Samsung unveils its first image sensor for cars, signs $436 million deal with Tesla

This isn’t about image quality and certainly not resolution – instead the focus is on practical things like a high dynamic range (120 dB) and LED flicker mitigation. Both are based on what Samsung calls CornerPixel.

This technology combines two photodiodes per pixel – one 3.0 µm for low-light operation and one 1.0 µm one placed in the corner (hence the name) that will be used for bright environments.

This setup allows the sensor to quickly adjust to changes in the surrounding light, e.g. when exiting a tunnel. It also provides a high dynamic range with little motion blur and reduces the flicker of LED lights.

The 4AC is already in mass production. Note that it is not intended for autonomous driving applications or in-cabin use (e.g. monitoring the driver), Samsung plans to introduce more sensors to cover such use-cases.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics has signed a $436 million deal with Tesla for this sensor. There are rumors swirling in the industry that the Tesla/Samsung deal is to supply cameras for the Cybertruck.

The unique-looking truck was announced in 2019 and Tesla is trying to bring it to market later this year, though it could be delayed until 2022.

Reference- Gsmarena, Tech Radar, Inside EVs, Clean Technica, Electrek