Cognex continues European buying spree with machine learning developer

April 07, 2017 // By Nick Flaherty
US machine vision giant Cognex has continued its series of European acquisitions with a Swiss developer of machine learning technology.

ViDi Systems, based in Villaz-St.-Pierre, Switzerland, was founded in 2012 by computational neuroscientist Dr Reto Wyss and the CPA Group, a Swiss industrial holding company and business incubator. Dr. Wyss and ViDi’s team of engineers joined Cognex at the time of the closing on April 4, and Cognex will maintain operations at the company’s current site in Switzerland. This follows two machine vision acquistion late last year.

ViDi’s deep learning software uses artificial intelligence techniques to improve image analysis in applications where it is difficult to predict the full range of image variations that might be encountered. Using feedback, ViDi’s software trains the system to distinguish between acceptable variations and defects.

“The ViDi team is at the forefront of applying deep learning techniques to the real-world challenges of industrial machine vision,” said Robert Willett, president and CEO of Cognex. “We are excited to bring this expertise to Cognex to broaden the scope of applications that can be addressed at a world-class level with Cognex vision.”

ViDi Systems became part of Cognex’s Vision Products business unit and follows the acquisition of two European 3D vision companies last year. EnShape in Jena, Germany, was acquired in October for its patented 3D area-scan technology for fast image capture at high resolution, and eliminate the need to mechanically move objects in front of the device as required with laser line scanners. This created a new Cognex engineering centre in Jena.

In August Cognex also completed the acquisition of 3D vision software developer AQSense in Girona, Spain. AQSense develops and sells a library of field-tested 3D vision tools, and the company’s software engineers joined Cognex’s 3D engineering team upon the closing of the acquisition.