The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the growth of connected and autonomous vehicles, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and cybersecurity. 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: Autopilot-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 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

Autopilot-manual switching is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

The autonomous driving electronic control unit's (AD- ECU's) domain controller utilises a range of environmental data assembled by radar, stereo cameras, and other sensors to enable a vehicle's supervisory control from autopilot to manual steering.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of autopilot-manual switching.

Key players in autopilot-manual switching – 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 autopilot-manual switching

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 230 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 121 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 120 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 117 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 111 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 97 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 89 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 87 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 70 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 67 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 55 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 54 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 42 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 37 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 35 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 35 Unlock Company Profile
LG 33 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 28 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 26 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 23 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 20 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group 17 Unlock Company Profile
Allstate 15 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 14 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 13 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 12 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 12 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 11 Unlock Company Profile
Cartica 11 Unlock Company Profile
Didi Global 11 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 11 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 9 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 9 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 9 Unlock Company Profile
JVCKENWOOD 8 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 8 Unlock Company Profile
INRIX 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Seiki 8 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 8 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 7 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Jidosha Kogyo Kk 6 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 6 Unlock Company Profile
Yanmar Holdings 6 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group Company 5 Unlock Company Profile
ResMed 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota currently holds 230 filed patents in the autopilot-manual switching segment. The company provides a wide range of fully integrated, automated solutions (advanced systems, intelligent software, and life-cycle services) to implement automation technology quickly, effectively, and efficiently. Other companies in autopilot-manual switching for the automotive industry are Hyundai, Alphabet, and Honda.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is 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.