SEOUL -- LG Innotek, the electric component unit of South Korea's LG Group, earmarked 479.8 billion won ($406 million) for investment in smartphone camera modules. To meet the global demand for special sensors for smartphones and smart devices, the company has produced 3D sensing modules that detect movement and measure distances.
LG Innotek said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that the investment is aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of optical solution businesses and responding to demands from markets. The investment sparked speculation that LG Innotek would produce high-end products such as triple cameras and 3-D camera sensors.
LG group units have sought new future growth engines in the autonomous and next-generation infotainment market. LG officials said the demand for multi-camera and 3D sensing modules would increase due to the commercialization of 5G networks and new smartphones.
In October 2019, LG Innotek claimed to be "industry-first" in developing a 5G telecom module with Qualcomm chips that would be used as a key part for self-driving vehicles and connected cars.
The 5G module allows wireless network connection while sending and receiving data between vehicles and base stations with 5G mobile communication technology. It can be installed in communication devices inside or on the roof side of a vehicle.
The module allows real-time road information sharing, precision location measurement, vehicle-to-everything (V2X), and large data transmission, the company said. V2X passes information from a vehicle to any entity and incorporates other more specific types of communication to ensure road safety and traffic efficiency.
It has not been easy to apply 5G technology to communication modules of vehicles due to the large loss of signal compared to 4G and heat generation caused by the transmission of high-capacity data. LG Innotek used differentiated radio frequency circuit designs and ultra-precision and high-density modularization technology to produce the module with a response time of 0.001 seconds.
A 5G mobile network commercialized by South Korea in 2019 was the key factor of autonomous driving infrastructures as self-driving and connected cars need to constantly transmit large data. South Korea is building an infrastructure for connected car services such as ultra-low-latency communication.
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