The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by environment regulations, electric vehicle (EV) market growth, smart grid integration and energy efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as cloud computing, machine learning, computer vision, and blockchain technology. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial intelligence in automotive: autonomous charging. Buy the report here.

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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 stabilizing 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.

300+ 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 one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, autonomous on-demand logistics, end-to-end learning models, and adaptive driver alerting are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicular vision, adaptive cruise control, and predictive acceleration control are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the automotive industry

Autonomous charging is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Autonomous charging refers to the ability of an autonomous vehicle to evaluate its own charge level, identify charging stations, navigate to selected charging stations, and initiate and receive a charge from them without human intervention.

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 autonomous charging.

Key players in autonomous charging – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to autonomous charging

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 97 Unlock Company Profile
AeroVironment 3 Unlock Company Profile
Wing Aviation 6 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 45 Unlock Company Profile
iRobot 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 47 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 15 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 4 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 105 Unlock Company Profile
Nel 8 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 4 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 8 Unlock Company Profile
Delta Electronics 5 Unlock Company Profile
dpiX 3 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 24 Unlock Company Profile
Jungheinrich 4 Unlock Company Profile
Teledyne Technologies 4 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 9 Unlock Company Profile
LG 17 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 14 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 13 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 38 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 63 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 2 Unlock Company Profile
Uber Technologies 3 Unlock Company Profile
Anderson Industries 3 Unlock Company Profile
Endeavor Robotics 4 Unlock Company Profile
Nikola 9 Unlock Company Profile
Veniam 3 Unlock Company Profile
Nio 3 Unlock Company Profile
X Development 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mojo Mobility 7 Unlock Company Profile
Emerging Automotive 38 Unlock Company Profile
Webasto Charging Systems 5 Unlock Company Profile
Outrider Technologies 9 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nissan Motor is one of the key patent filers in AI autonomous charging. Nissan has been working on its e-POWER technology, which combines an electric motor with a gasoline engine acting as a generator. The technology can potentially optimize power management for EVs, including the charging process, although it might not be exclusively related to autonomous charging. State Farm Mutual Automotive Insurance, Ford Motors, and Hyundai Motors are some of the other key patent filers in autonomous charging.

In terms of application diversity, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance leads the pack. Outrider Technologies and Emerging Automotive stood in the second and third positions respectively. By means of geographic reach, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance held the top position followed by Emerging Automotive and Nissan Motor.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Automotive.

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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.