The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increased access to data, real-time driver monitoring and growing availability of AI platforms], and growing importance of technologies such as machine-learning algorithms and deep learning. 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: Driver physiological state estimation. Buy the report here.

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

Driver physiological state estimation is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

A driver monitoring system (DMS) is a vehicle safety feature that gauges driver alertness to prevent accidents on the road and identify unsafe or forbidden behaviour. A DMS uses a camera to identify certain signs of distracted or impaired driving and delivers an alert if it identifies a problem.

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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of driver physiological state estimation.

Key players in driver physiological state estimation – 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 driver physiological state estimation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Motor Group 257 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 210 Unlock company profile
Kia 205 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 185 Unlock company profile
LG 155 Unlock company profile
Denso 132 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 119 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 103 Unlock company profile
Cox Enterprises 93 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 89 Unlock company profile
INRIX 83 Unlock company profile
Omron 80 Unlock company profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 78 Unlock company profile
Tata Motors 77 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 57 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 54 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 52 Unlock company profile
General Motors 39 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 38 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Mobis 35 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 35 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 34 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 33 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 32 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 31 Unlock company profile
Aptiv 29 Unlock company profile
Renault 27 Unlock company profile
Continental 26 Unlock company profile
Subaru 24 Unlock company profile
Flex 24 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 19 Unlock company profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group 16 Unlock company profile
Intel 15 Unlock company profile
Clear Secure 15 Unlock company profile
PlusAI 15 Unlock company profile
Mando 14 Unlock company profile
Bragi 14 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 13 Unlock company profile
Allstate 12 Unlock company profile
Micron Technology 11 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment Holding 11 Unlock company profile
Nauto 11 Unlock company profile
Cartica 11 Unlock company profile
Stella Vermogensverwaltungs 11 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 11 Unlock company profile
Uber Technologies 11 Unlock company profile
Xerox Holdings 11 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Tianma Microelectronics 10 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 10 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 9 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hyundai is a key player in the driver physiological state estimation innovation area. The company is investing in the R&D of the NLU (Natural Language Understanding) system and other technologies that facilitate AI-driven conversations. AI Agent being developed by Hyundai’s AIRS Company functions at a higher level by assessing the current status of the vehicle and the driver and providing services that understand the motivation behind the spoken command. If the driver is detected as potentially dozing while driving, the vehicle might automatically pull the windows down to bring in fresh air or even ask the driver if he or she would like to take a rest. Toyota, Ford, Kia, Denso, LG and Nissan are some of the other key players in the innovation area.

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.