The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by factors such as growing demand for autonomous vehicles (AVs), the need for a safe and seamless transition from autonomous to manual driving as AVs are not yet capable of operating safely in all situations, technological innovations, and increasing government regulations to development and deployment of AVs, as well as growing importance of technologies such as sensors, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communication and functional safety. 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-to-manual switching. 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-to-manual switching is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Autonomous-to-manual switching refers to the ability of a vehicle to transition between autonomous driving mode and manual driving mode, and the associated hardware and software systems that enable the transition.

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-to-manual switching.

Key players in autonomous-to-manual switching – 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-to-manual switching

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Mobis 21 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 112 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 43 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 320 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 75 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 159 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 46 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely 18 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 210 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 44 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 125 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 41 Unlock Company Profile
Allstate 19 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 161 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 16 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 40 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 25 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 15 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 27 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 75 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 14 Unlock Company Profile
LG 53 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 104 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 38 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 191 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 29 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 65 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 27 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 14 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 47 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 39 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 26 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Motor is one of the leading patent filers in autonomous-to-manual switching. Toyota is currently developing new algorithms for its autonomous-to-manual switching (AMS) systems, which are more accurate and efficient than traditional AMS algorithms. These new algorithms are designed to better perceive the surrounding environment and make decisions about when and how to switch from autonomous to manual driving. Toyota is also utilizing new sensors and sensor fusion technologies to further improve the performance of its AMS systems. Some other key patent filers in the space include Hyundai Motor, Kia, and Honda Motor

In terms of application diversity, Kubota leads the pack, while Alphabet and Intel stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Intel held the top position, followed by Alphabet and Tata Motors.

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.