The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Innovation in LiDAR point cloud processing is driven by growing demand for autonomous vehicles, advancements in LiDAR sensor technology, government regulations, and the increasing availability of high-quality data. This is driving the development of real-time object detection, 3D scene reconstruction, and high-definition mapping for autonomous vehicles, enabling safer navigation and more accurate mapping for various applications. The automotive industry is utilizing LiDAR point cloud processing technologies for real-time object detection, 3D scene reconstruction, high-definition mapping, and semantic segmentation. These technologies aid in autonomous vehicle navigation, obstacle avoidance, and improved accuracy in tasks such as lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control. 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: LiDAR point cloud processing. 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

LiDAR point cloud processing is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

LiDAR point cloud processing involves the conversion of raw point cloud data, obtained from a LiDAR sensor, into meaningful and actionable information. This process typically involves segmentation, classification, filtering, and feature extraction to derive insights from the point cloud data.

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 LiDAR point cloud processing.

Key players in LiDAR point cloud processing – 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 LiDAR point cloud processing

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 16 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 18 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 31 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 7 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 261 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 10 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 17 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 22 Unlock Company Profile 30 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 60 Unlock Company Profile
LG 55 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 131 Unlock Company Profile
Wipro 14 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 221 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 26 Unlock Company Profile
Toro 18 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 18 Unlock Company Profile
Uber Technologies 18 Unlock Company Profile
Trax Technology Solutions 14 Unlock Company Profile
Skydio 12 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 7 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 17 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing TuSimple Future Technology 10 Unlock Company Profile
FarmWise Labs 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nuro 243 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 28 Unlock Company Profile
PlusAI 8 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 13 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Alphabet is one of the leading patent filers in LiDAR point cloud processing for automotive. Its latest patent focuses on real-time processing of data. Nuro and Intel are also developing innovative technologies in this field, preparing for autonomous vehicle deployment.

In terms of application diversity, Nuro leads the pack, while Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Walmart stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Walmart held the top position, followed by Nuro and Intel

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.