Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Teledyne Completes Acquisition of e2v

Teledyne and e2v jointly announce the successful completion of the acquisition by Teledyne of e2v. The aggregate value for the transaction was approximately £627M (or approximately $789M) taking into account e2v stock options and net debt as of September 2016. For the year ended March 31, 2016, e2v had sales of approximately £236M. Excluding transaction-related expenses, Teledyne management expects the transaction to be accretive to earnings per share.

Every business within e2v is highly complementary to Teledyne and will contribute to our balanced portfolio of highly engineered products. From industrial machine vision to space-based imaging... our respective capabilities and engineering-centric cultures are truly a great fit,” said Robert Mehrabian, Chairman, President and CEO of Teledyne. “We are proud to continue e2v’s 70-year legacy of innovation and specialized high technology products. In addition, e2v adds greater critical mass and technical resources to Teledyne in key locations, including the United Kingdom; Grenoble, France; and Seville, Spain.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Yole on Intel Acquisition of Mobileye

Yole publishes its analysis of Intel-Mobileye deal, mostly saying that both companies need each other to compete on the heated autonomous driving would-be market. Yole predicts the 2020-s will be the decade of sensing:

The autonomous vehicles take-off is expected in 5-10 years from now:

And some market data:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Nikkei: Panasonic Possibly Divests from TPSCo

Nikkei: Panasonic prepares a restructuring plan to improve its financial performance. As a part of the plan, Panasonic contemplates selling its share in TowerJazz-Panasonic JV: "In the chip business, the company is weighing unloading shares in a joint venture with an Israeli enterprise."

ToF Imaging Book

It came to my attention that CRC Press released "High Performance CMOS Range Imaging: Device Technology and Systems Considerations" by Andreas Suss in 2016. The book appears to be a version of Andreas Suss 2014 PhD Thesis, freely available on Duisburg University site.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mobileye Lecture at MIT

MIT Center for Brains, Minds and Machines publishes a lecture "The Convergence of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Towards Enabling Autonomous Driving" by Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CTO and Chairman, that has been live streamed yesterday. The lecture also has a nice Q&A session starting 0:51:00 time, the camera requirements questions start at 1:08:34:

Thanks to DS for the link!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Magna Forecasts Automotive Camera Market to Reach $10B in 2020

AutomotiveNews: Magna VP Joel Gibson said the total market value for camera-based driver assistance systems is “growing very quickly” and he expects it to be worth about $10b per year by 2020. “It’s a very large growth area for Magna,” he said. Magna expects its car camera business to grow to $1B from the current $450M per year.

On another automotive news, AutoSens publishes a tutorial "What is LiDAR and why is it so important to driverless cars?" explaining the LiDAR basics and its strengths and weaknesses.

In yet another automotive news, NYTimes reports a use case for an in-car camera: "In France, Valeo, another supplier of automotive technology, is developing an infrared camera system that will monitor children in the rear seat as well as the driver’s shoulder, neck and head movements, looking for deviations from the norm.

Checking body temperature and even how the driver is dressed, the system will also be able to customize the interior temperature for each driver, said Guillaume Devauchelle, the company’s innovation director.

Inside ToF Proximity Sensor of iPhone 7 Plus

Systemplus Consulting publishes reverse engineering report of ST SPAD-based proximity sensor inside Apple iPhone 7 Plus. "The custom Apple device measures 2.80 mm x 2.40 mm, half the size of the rest of STMicroelectronics’s portfolio." VCSEL is integrated on top of the SPAD sensor chip:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

ST SPAD Presentation

ST kindly permitted me to publish few slides from Bruce Rae presentation "Fully industrialised Foundry SPAD in an optimised 130nm CMOS imaging technology" at Image Sensors Europe in London, UK, on March 15, 2017:

Update: ST asked me to add a following statement:

"STM adds SPADs to its CIS foundry business in addition to its advanced CIS processes and pixels. STM is now enriching its CIS foundry offer with access to its 130nm CMOS SPAD technology. The fully industrialized SPAD pixel and associated IPs, shipped in more than 250 Million of STM’s FlightSenseTM technology based products, is now available to STM customers under a foundry business model. Customers can now benefit from more than 10 years of R&D, as well as a proven, reliable, high volume capable supply chain. Regular MPW shuttles are planned, starting in Sept 2017."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Taiwan Distributors Report High CIS Demand

Digitimes: Taiwan-based Coasia Microelectronics and Sunnic Technology & Merchandise, report 17.7% and 18% YoY sales growth, according to industry sources. Coasia distributes CMOS sensors mainly for Samsung, while Sunnic sells Sony's CMOS sensors.

The growth in demand in 2017 has been attributed to a growing number of new smartphones including entry-level and mid-range models that will feature a dual-lens setup, said Digitimes sources.

Indeed, even $65 phones such as DooGee Shoot 2 feature dual 5MP rear camera these days:

EETimes on ST SPAD Imager in iPhone 8

EETimes quotes Yole's analyst Pierre Cambou findings that ST SPAD imager might appear in the oncoming Apple iPhone 8. Few quotes:

"Yole’s educated guess is that ST is bringing a brand new 3D (array) imager to Apple iPhone 8 — an innovation that will alter the phone’s user interface.

Here’s a fact: As many as 10 Apple engineers have been working on imaging in Grenoble over the last few years. Their presence is open knowledge among locals, according to Cambou. The local newspaper reported last summer that Apple signed a lease with the city of Grenoble to open a research and development center there. The 800-square-meter facility will reportedly focus on imaging components and employ about thirty engineers.

Cambou suspects that ST could be using Silicon on insulator (SOI)-based wafers for the new SPAD 3D imagers. He said, “This is the way people have been doing BSI in the Gr├ęsivaudan valley (in Crolles…) for a long time.