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Tech giant creates optics system to help robots maneuver

Jabil developing technology for the “seamless detection and tracking of objects in a robot’s path."

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  • | 4:56 p.m. June 23, 2021
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Inc. (NYSE: JBL) is developing a sensor that will make it a lot easier for robots to get around.

The technology, which may terrify those who fear a robot uprising, allows for “seamless detection and tracking of objects in a robot’s path, aimed at improving both obstacle avoidance and worker safety,” the St. Petersburg company says in a statement.

The company says the omnidirectional sensor is being developed at its optical design center in Jena, Germany.

“By combining a custom optical assembly with an innovative active illumination approach, a new 3D time-of-flight depth sensor with an industry-leading 360° x 60° field of view is being developed,” the statement says.

“The ground-breaking, solid-state design is one of several sensing systems Jabil’s optical business unit — Jabil Optics —is designing to support lower-cost autonomous mobile robotics and collaborative robotics platforms.”

The new technology will reduce sensor noise while simultaneously improving data quality and power management, according to the statement.

Jabil, a giant in manufacturing technology, employs 260,000 people in 30 countries. The company’s net revenue, according to its third quarter earning announced June 17, was $7.2 billion for the quarter.


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