North American sales of machine vision components and systems set a new record for quarterly sales in the first quarter of 2018, driven by trends such as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), an industry trade group said Tuesday.
Sales in the sector increased 19 percent year over year to $709 million in the first quarter of 2018, according to statistics released by Automated Imaging Association (AIA)., the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based machine vision trade group.
Of that total, the machine vision components category grew 28 percent to a new record high of $107 million during the first quarter. That fast growth was due primarily by camera sales—which increased 44 percent to $65 million—as well as optics (up 16 percent to $12 million) and software (up nine percent to $5 million).
The other category—machine vision systems—increased 17 percent to $597 over the same period, thanks to rising sales of smart cameras (up 26 percent to $109 million) and application specific machine vision (ASMV) systems (up 16 percent to $488 million).
"Vision technology is being integrated in a growing number of automation applications today because the technology is enabling new ways to solve complex challenges," AIA President Jeff Burnstein said in a statement. "Growing global trends such as autonomous vehicles, AI, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) rely heavily on vision and imaging, which bodes well for the future of this industry."
Machine vision capabilities are also critical for logistics applications such as robotic piece picking platforms from vendors like Plus One Robotics Inc. and RightHand Robotics Inc., mobile robotic platforms such as Fetch Robotics Inc. and Locus Robotics Inc., and scanners mounted on conveyors for data collection in material handling.