Saturday, June 13, 2015

IHS Sees Drones as a Big Image Sensor Market

IHS Electronics360: IHS believes that a rise of low-cost consumer and industrial-oriented drones opens a big market for chip makers in general, and, specifically, for image sensor vendors. Few quotes:

"Today, the major UAV vendors include DJI, a Chinese company expected to reach $1 billion in sales this year; Parrot in France; and 3D Robotics in the U.S. Larger companies are trying their wings as well. Google bought drone-maker Titan and plans to start testing drones later this year. Amazon Prime Air plans to use its drones for package delivery."

"In many consumer drones, the camera function is handled as part of the microprocessor and so a separate camera chip is not needed. Depending on which chip vendor is talking, they refer to drones as either “flying smartphones” or “flying cameras.

"DJI designed Ambarella chips into its Phantom line of drones 18 months ago. Although it is a new market for Ambarella, sales have “really, really taken off,” says Chris Day, Ambarella’s vice president of marketing and business development. “It’s not just a niche. We think by the end of this year, it’ll be significant.

"Ambarella chips produce high quality video in very low light conditions and incorporate “dewarping” technology that can correct distortions from wide-angle lenses, allowing for better discrimination of detail, he says. They also have frame rates as high as 60 frames per second, enabling smoother video of fast-moving events like sports."

A Cnet video explains the 4K/30fps camera operation of the latest DJI Phantom 3 drone:

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