The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to improve driving experience and safety, and growing importance of technologies such as robotics, cloud computing and Internet of Things. 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: road slope estimationBuy 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

Road slope estimation is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Road slope estimation, which includes lateral slope estimation and longitudinal slope estimation, is beneficial in many aspects. Lateral slope (roll angle) implies the angle between the axis of road width and the earth's horizontal plane. Lateral slope estimation can be utilised in a lane keep assist (LKA) system to keep a car in the lane and speed control to navigate a curve safely.

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 road slope estimation.

Key players in road slope estimation – 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 road slope estimation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Volvo 77 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 55 Unlock Company Profile
Isuzu Motors 73 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 38 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 218 Unlock Company Profile
HL Mando 46 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 336 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 31 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 167 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 52 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 877 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 71 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 25 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 82 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 225 Unlock Company Profile
TomTom 25 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 31 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 100 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 100 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 23 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 809 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 86 Unlock Company Profile
PACCAR 31 Unlock Company Profile
LG 32 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 64 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 46 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 694 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 31 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 262 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 37 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 87 Unlock Company Profile
Land Rover UK 38 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Porsche Automobil is a key player in the road slope estimation innovation area. The company’s road slope estimation technology uses GPS and standard vehicle sensors for estimation of road slope. Hyundai Motor, Kia, Toyota, and Ford Motor are some of the other key players.

In terms of application diversity, Land Rover held the top position, while Aptiv and Baidu stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Land Rover leads the pack, followed by TomTom and Intel.

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.