The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by demand for intelligent and connected cars that are safer and offer enhanced driving experience, as well as the increasing importance of technologies such as electric, connected and autonomous vehicles. Adaptive cruise control with its capability to constantly monitoring information related to speed limits, road curvature, and more, is growing as a preferred choice both among OEMs and customers owing to comfort, convenience and safety it brings on board. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.2 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial intelligence in Automotive: Adaptive cruise control.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

290+ innovations will shape the automotive industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the automotive industry using innovation intensity models built on over 619,000 patents, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, manufacturability analysis, autonomous parking, and lidar for vehicle anti-collision are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Speed profile estimation, smart light dimmers, and driver drowsiness detection are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are road slope estimation and adaptive cruise control, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the automotive industry

Adaptive cruise control is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) functions to control a vehicle without the driver's direct inputs, by analysing the speed of the vehicle in front, ACC can then modify the speed of the car accordingly to avoid any incidence of crash.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of adaptive cruise control.

Key players in adaptive cruise control – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to adaptive cruise control

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Porsche Automobil Holding 189 Unlock company profile
Tata Motors 173 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 167 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 111 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 97 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 70 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 57 Unlock company profile
General Motors 51 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 45 Unlock company profile
Continental 42 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 38 Unlock company profile
Denso 38 Unlock company profile
Kia 37 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 34 Unlock company profile
Renault 33 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 23 Unlock company profile
AB Volvo 22 Unlock company profile
AVL List 17 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 16 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 15 Unlock company profile
Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin 14 Unlock company profile
Valeo 14 Unlock company profile
Intel 13 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 9 Unlock company profile
Bentley Motors 8 Unlock company profile
Omnitracs 8 Unlock company profile
Tencent Holdings 7 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 7 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 7 Unlock company profile
Sanyang Motor 7 Unlock company profile
Ferrari 6 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 6 Unlock company profile
Suzuki Motor 6 Unlock company profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 6 Unlock company profile
Centro Ricerche Fiat 5 Unlock company profile
Aisin 5 Unlock company profile
Yamaha Motor 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Porsche Automobil Holding is one of the leading innovators for adaptive cruise control systems. Porsche has filed 189 patents for the technology advancement in cruise control segment. The company have featured the future of systems that are capable of continuous improving and learning. The Porsche engineers have proved the same by adaptive cruise control systems. Other companies are also working on innovations in adaptive cruise control, such as Tata Motors, Toyota Motor and Ford Motor. To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Automotive.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.