The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the demand for better customer experience, rising interest driver safety in vehicles, autonomous driving, safety features, testing and simulation, and growing importance of technologies such as advanced signal/image processing algorithms and predictive AI-based analytics. 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: driver drowsiness detectionBuy 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

Driver drowsiness detection is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Driver drowsiness detection systems use cameras, eye tracking sensors and other hardware to track visual cues, where drowsiness can be identified through eye-blinking frequency, facial expressions, yawning frequency, eye-gaze movement and head movement.

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 driver drowsiness detection.

Key players in driver drowsiness detection – 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 driver drowsiness detection

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Mobis 26 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 12 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 12 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 22 Unlock Company Profile
HL Mando 15 Unlock Company Profile
Yokohama Rubber 10 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 125 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 15 Unlock Company Profile
Tokai Rika 16 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 9 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 34 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely 26 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 111 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 24 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 20 Unlock Company Profile
TS Tech 8 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 10 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 63 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 19 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 43 Unlock Company Profile
Winbond Electronics 8 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 28 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 31 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 8 Unlock Company Profile
LG 69 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 56 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 26 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 69 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 9 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 24 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 21 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 8 Unlock Company Profile
Xerox 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota is the leading patent filer in the driver drowsiness detection innovation area. The company’s Toyota Safety Sense alerts drivers about the dangers of DWS – Driving While Sleepy. It is designed to support a driver’s awareness and increase safety while driving. Hyundai, LG, Kia, and Honda Motor are some of the other key players in the innovation area.

In terms of application diversity, Stradvision held the top position, while TS Tech and Alphabet stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance leads the pack, followed by Yokohama Rubber and Honda 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.

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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.