May 22, 2006, Natick, MA,--Cognex Corporation a leading supplier of machine vision sensors and systems, has acquired AssistWare Technology, a privately held developer of Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems for the heavy truck market. AssistWare's LDW system uses a small video camera and machine vision technology to watch the road ahead and alert drivers if they unintentionally leave their lane, or if their driving pattern becomes erratic.
In a recent U.S. Department of Transportation study, AssistWare's LDW technology was shown to significantly reduce unintended lane departures, which are known to be a major cause of truck accidents. The technology can also alert drivers when they are wandering excessively within a lane, a symptom of driver fatigue and another significant cause of highway accidents.
In addition to providing LDW products to commercial trucking fleets, AssistWare is playing a major role in federally-funded research on driver assistance technologies. AssistWare, along with partners at The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Eaton Corp., Visteon Corp., Honda R&D Americas Inc., Battelle Memorial Institute, and the Michigan Department of Transportation, was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to take part in a $25 million program to develop, deploy, and test a new integrated vehicle warning system to help drivers avoid accidents.
"Our initial focus will be to serve the heavy truck market which, with nearly 300,000 heavy trucks sold per year in the United States alone, represents significant market potential for Cognex," said Robert Shillman, chairman and CEO of Cognex. "Over time, as we expand the technology and lower the price, we anticipate that these systems will become standard in all types of vehicles, ranging from the heaviest long-haul trucks to the smallest commuter cars."
The acquisition of AssistWare was completed on May 22. Cognex will retain AssistWare's employees and current offices in Gibsonia, PA, which will serve as an Advanced Research and Development center for Cognex's initiative in this new market area. AssistWare's founder, Dean Pomerleau, a recognized expert with over 15 years of experience in the field, will join Cognex to lead those R&D activities.
"Cognex will continue to develop, support and market AssistWare's LDW technology for the heavy trucking industry in the near term with a focus on expanding its capabilities to include such features as collision warning, headlight dimming and adaptive cruise control," Shillman continued. "Over time, we plan to develop and offer inward-looking sensors for truck and passenger vehicles which will be able to do such things as recognize the driver and determine the size and position of each occupant for intelligent air-bag deployment."