The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by Autonomous vehicle simulation and testing are crucial for the automotive industry for safety, cost reduction, and performance improvement. They help identify safety issues, reduce the need for physical prototypes, and improve AV performance in various conditions. Additionally, they help automakers comply with global regulations by demonstrating their AVs’ safety and reliability to regulators. Overall, AV simulation and testing are essential for ensuring the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles. The automotive industry is utilizing advanced technologies for AV simulation and testing. High-fidelity simulation environments accurately represent real-world scenarios, while AI-powered tools generate test cases and identify safety issues. Real-time simulation tools allow engineers to test AVs in real-world conditions without deployment on public roads. Digital twins, virtual replicas of real-world objects, collect data on AV performance in simulated scenarios. 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: AV simulation and testing. 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

AV simulation and testing is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

AV simulation and testing involves using various methods and systems to assess and test the performance, functionality, and safety of autonomous vehicles in different scenarios. This includes developing simulation models, collecting and analyzing data from sensors and other sources, and identifying faults, so that improvements can be made to AVs.

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 AV simulation and testing.

Key players in AV simulation and testing – 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 AV simulation and testing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Bridgestone 6 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 186 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 14 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 60 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 13 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 8 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 4 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 3 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 3 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 5 Unlock Company Profile
Northrop Grumman 7 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 3 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems 5 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 7 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 9 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 12 Unlock Company Profile 30 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 9 Unlock Company Profile
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory 3 Unlock Company Profile
Autodesk 5 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 102 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway Signal & Communication 2 Unlock Company Profile
FiveAI 18 Unlock Company Profile
AVL List 7 Unlock Company Profile
Aurora Innovation 4 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing TuSimple Future Technology 28 Unlock Company Profile 3 Unlock Company Profile
Foretellix 7 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch 4 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Zhixingzhe Technology 4 Unlock Company Profile
Morai 6 Unlock Company Profile
Flare Bright 7 Unlock Company Profile
Aurora Operations 8 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, the leading patent filer in autonomous vehicle (AV) simulation and testing, has filed a system and method for autonomous vehicle (AV) simulation and testing. The system includes a simulation environment that models the real world, including vehicles, pedestrians, and traffic infrastructure. Data is collected to identify potential safety issues. Ford Motor and Baidu are also at the forefront of innovation in AV simulation and testing, with their patents essential for the development of safe and reliable AVs. State Farm Mutual's patent for a system and method for AV simulation and testing is a significant contribution to the field, potentially accelerating the development and deployment of safe and reliable AVs.

In terms of application diversity, State Farm Mutual leads the pack. Bridgestone and General Motors stood in the second and third positions respectively. By means of geographic reach, State Farm Mutual held the top position followed by IBM and Aurora Operations.

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.