The USB3 Vision standard also represents a shift from the use of machine vision-specific buses like Camera Link to the practice of leveraging existing buses, such as USB, says Gross. "Machine vision is a very small market compared to many others. By leveraging an existing bus you can gain the resources that already exist for it, such as compatible hardware, cables, and connectors, instead of having to design it all up front."
USB3 Vision targets applications that don't need the long cables and networking capability of GigE Vision. It competes with devices made for Camera Link base and medium, but with faster speed and minus the need for a frame grabber card for each camera. "A frame grabber can give better performance and tighter synchronization in terms of I/Os and the more advanced onboard processing that you can do with FPGAs," says Gross.
The AIA can complete the standards review process for USB3 Vision faster than it has for others because so many lower-level functions about how to transfer data are already defined by USB 3.0. Examples include plug-and-play device discovery and how commands are sent to the device, according to Gross. In contrast, the GigE standard, based on a networking protocol, didn't pre-define those functions, which had to be built up for GigE Vision starting all the way down at the lower levels.
Gross says the AIA hopes to have a draft standard in early 2012, and to finalize it in time to announce the first products at Vision 2012.