Changing lanes

US vision system giant Cognex has sold its lane departure warning business to TK Holdings, a Japanese supplier of automotive safety systems.


US vision system giant Cognex has sold all of the assets of its lane departure warning business to TK Holdings, a Japanese supplier of automotive safety systems, for $3.15m in cash.


Cognex entered the in-vehicle vision business in 2006 with the acquisition of AssistWare Technology, a small company that had developed a vision system that could provide a warning to drivers when their vehicle was about to inadvertently cross a lane.


Over the past two years, the company invested additional funds to commercialise the AssistWare’s lane departure warning business product and to establish a business developing and selling machine vision products for driver assistance.


Although Tier One suppliers had expressed interest in Cognex’s vision technology, they all required access to, and control of, the company’s proprietary proprietary software which the company was not prepared to release to them.


Cognex chairman Dr Robert Shillman admitted that the company had invested in a business that appeared at the time to have a very large market potential.


‘Unfortunately, as we got more experience with that business, it became clear that it did not fit Cognex’s business model,’ he said.


‘We recognise that when investing outside of our core businesses that you win some, and you lose some, and this was one of those times when our investment did not pay off.’


As a result of the sale, Cognex will record a pre-tax charge of approximately $3m in the second quarter of 2008.