Quality Magazine

Cognex Sells Its In-Vehicle Vision Business

July 8, 2008

NATICK, MA -- Cognex Corp. announced that it has sold its lane departure warning business (LDW) to TK Holdings Inc. (Takata Corporation Group), a supplier of automotive safety systems based in Tokyo. Under the terms of the deal, Takata has acquired all of the assets of the LDW business for $3.15 million in cash. As a result of this sale, Cognex will record a pre-tax charge of approximately $3 million in the second quarter of 2008.

“Cognex entered the in-vehicle vision business in 2006 with the acquisition of AssistWare Technologies, 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. And, over the past two years, we have invested additional funds to commercialize AssistWare’s LDW product and to establish a business developing and selling machine vision products for driver assistance,” said Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Chairman and CEO of Cognex. “Although we continue to believe that in-vehicle applications of machine vision will one day be a very large opportunity, it has become clear to us that delivering a complete LDW product to the automotive industry is not a profitable way for us to participate in that market. There are two reasons for that. First, car and truck manufacturers (‘OEMs’) want to work exclusively with their existing Tier One suppliers, who have the knowledge and experience needed to meet the extremely rigorous testing and quality standards required in the automotive industry. Next, although Tier One suppliers have expressed interest in Cognex’s vision technology, they all required access to, and control of, our proprietary software code…which we just can’t agree to.”

Dr. Shillman continued, “Cognex invested in a business that appeared 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 profitable business model. We recognize 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. But, despite this loss, we will continue to search for, and invest in, promising new market opportunities.”