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Stereolabs Launches 3D Camera Optimized for Outdoor Robots

ZED-X camera Stereolabs outdoor robotics

December 7, 2022

Stereolabs, which develops 3D computer vision systems, has announced the launch of the ZED-X, a stereo camera specifically designed for robotic navigation and process automation in indoor and outdoor environments.

The company said one of the most difficult problems for autonomous robots is how to safely navigate complex environments. Traditional navigation systems rely on expensive arrays of lidar sensors and cameras, which have limited fields of view, low resolution and difficulty recognizing objects.

Stereolabs said it helps solve this problem by giving robots more powerful artificial intelligence camera-based surround vision. By fusing 3D spatial data from multiple ZED-X stereo cameras, the perception platform lets robots navigate and detect obstacles in any complex environment, while being more affordable and easier to install than lidar-based systems. The ZED-X also includes a software ecosystem to help developers rapidly deploy commercial robots for agriculture, construction, logistics and last-mile delivery applications.

The ZED-X includes an IP66-rated aluminum enclosure, GMSL2 connection and native multi-camera synchronization. Features include 360-degree depth sensing, localization, object detection and skeleton tracking. In addition to the camera, the system comes with a software development kit (SDK) and ZED Hub multi-camera control platform.

The camera is available in two form factors: The ZED-X and ZED-X Mini, and both cameras provide 3D perception at a range of 0.2 to 20 meters for navigation, and up-close at a range of 0.08 to 12.5 meters for object detection during core process automation. For example, an autonomous tractor can use ZED-X for safe navigation, and the ZED-X Mini can be used for crop detection.

The ZED-X Mini can be used on robots for up-close detection of objects, such as crops (photo courtesy of Stereolabs).

The ZED-X is also optimized for use with NVIDIA’s Jetson AGX Orin supercomputer in order to integrate it into an intelligent, end-to-end workflow, Stereolabs said. Each Jetson module can control four ZED-X cameras, which aims to reduce cost, weight and onboard space requirements.

“Today’s robots need to navigate in harsh environments and respond quickly as they operate,” said Cecile Schmollgruber, CEO of Stereolabs. “Building an affordable, industrial-grade surround 3D perception solution is critical to production-scale deployment of next-generation robotics and smart analytics. Our camera-based solution dramatically simplifies 360-degree spatial perception, and is backed by an ecosystem of tools to integrate and control them at a price point that makes it easy to add 3D vision to any machine.”

The ZED-X camera is available for pre-order for $599, and the ZED-X Mini is available for $549 per camera. Both the SDK 4.0 and ZED Hub management software are available immediately, and are compatible with the entire ZED range of cameras, Stereolabs said.

For more details and features, visit the Stereolabs website here.

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