The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by factors such as passenger safety and enhanced in-car experiences, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, sensors, and machine 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: Radar-camera fusion. 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

Radar-camera fusion is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Signals from camera and radar are combined to estimate the position, velocity, trajectory and class of objects including other vehicles and pedestrians. RADAR helps in accurately and quickly measuring object distance. Its greatest advantage over a camera is that it can be used in any setting and regardless of the weather. Additionally, it can be used at any time of day with the same accuracy. Since RADAR can also determine an object's velocity, ADAS applications can benefit greatly from it.

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 160+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of radar-camera fusion.

Key players in radar-camera fusion – 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 radar-camera fusion

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 966 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 963 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 908 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 711 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 449 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 369 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 343 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 331 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 312 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 278 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 246 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 240 Unlock Company Profile
Mando 239 Unlock Company Profile
SSW Partners 215 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 192 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 186 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 184 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 182 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 160 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 145 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 126 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 124 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 109 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 109 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 108 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 104 Unlock Company Profile
Uhnder 104 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 86 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 86 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 81 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 80 Unlock Company Profile
Autoliv 80 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 77 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 75 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 73 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec 71 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 69 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 65 Unlock Company Profile
Stella Vermogensverwaltungs 65 Unlock Company Profile
Toyoda Gosei 58 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa Electric 58 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 51 Unlock Company Profile
NXP Semiconductors 50 Unlock Company Profile
Amazon.com 49 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 49 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group 48 Unlock Company Profile
LG 47 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment Holding 46 Unlock Company Profile
Wgr 42 Unlock Company Profile
MaxLinear 41 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota is one of the leading patent filers for radar-camera fusion. The company has filed 966 patents in the sector, as part of a concerted push to advance autonomous vehicles. Toyota’s radar-camera fusion will help prevent and mitigate collisions while yielding best-in-class lateral and longitudinal vehicle control. Denso, General Motors, and Ford are a few other notable patent filers in the same industry.

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.