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At CES, Jabil shows off advanced driving tech that could ‘put an IMAX in your pocket’

Margie Manning

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Photo credit: Jabil Inc.

Technology that makes driving safer is the centerpiece of Jabil Inc.’s booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Jabil (NYSE: JBL) has working demonstrations of its advanced driver assistance systems — systems that use cameras and detection devices for automatic braking and blind spot monitoring.

CES, the annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association, has about 180,000 people in attendance and is a high-profile platform to show off new technologies.

While much of the focus at CES is on gadgets, for Jabil it’s a chance to demonstrate how the St. Petersburg-based manufacturing services company has put its technology capabilities to work in a variety of markets, said Mike Loparco, executive vice president and CEO of Jabil’s Engineered Solutions Group.

“One example would be in the space of optics,” Loparco said Tuesday, while speaking at the Citi Global TMT West Conference at CES. “We’ve historically done acquisitions in the optic space that first served our hand phone industry. We’ve taken those learnings and demonstrated the ability to miniaturize optics and camera modules and introduced them into things such as the automotive environment or even the consumer technology space.”

One of the optic technologies on display at CES is a product that Jabil designed and engineered for Epilog Imaging Systems Inc., a San Jose, California-based company. Currently automakers place up to 20 cameras around a car to improve visibility. Epilog has patented an imaging system that fuses multiple sensors into one unit, resulting in “an industrial-strength video camera that delivers high-speed HDR, 8K+ panoramic video using a single lens, produced at very low cost,” according to a case study from Jabil.

Many leading auto manufacturers have shown early interest in the technology, Jabil said. Epilog and Jabil are working on incorporating the technology into other consumer goods. Next-generation video technology could include thin, poster-sized televisions with 16K resolution, and the ability to pinch-zoom 8K videos on any mobile device to see blade-of-grass detail or shoot Hollywood-quality videos on inexpensive cameras, the case study said.

“With Jabil’s help, we can get the cost where Epilog’s technology goes beyond cars and into security cameras and consumer devices,” said Scott Nisbet, strategic advisor to Epilog. “Ultimately, you can basically have an IMAX in your pocket.”

Advanced driver assistance systems currently are primarily designed and manufactured “in-house,” by automakers, according to a survey Jabil released on automotive technology trends. But less than half of those doing design in-house plan to keep it in-house, and four out of five are considering outsourcing manufacturing within five years, the survey found.

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