The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing penetration of electronics into vehicle systems to make mobility safer and intelligent, 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 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in automotive: smart dimming headlightsBuy 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 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, LiDAR scanners, smart automotive lighting, and autonomous steering are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle sensor network, AV tire health monitoring, and collision avoidance systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are remote trip monitoring and smart speed governors, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the automotive industry

Smart dimming headlights is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Smart dimming headlights increase forward lighting at night and automate the high beam control by using a digital camera mounted on the interior rearview mirror. The camera automatically switches from high beam to low beam when a car approaches until it is no longer in view.

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 smart dimming headlights.

Key players in smart dimming headlights – 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 smart dimming headlights

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Marelli 32 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 152 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 137 Unlock Company Profile
Koito Manufacturing 882 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 77 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 40 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 79 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 26 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 371 Unlock Company Profile
Apollo Global Management 48 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 330 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 213 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 67 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 92 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 29 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 32 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 43 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 41 Unlock Company Profile
Deere 26 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 289 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 97 Unlock Company Profile
Stanley Electric 174 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 30 Unlock Company Profile
Dai Nippon Printing 31 Unlock Company Profile
SL 38 Unlock Company Profile
LG 167 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 172 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 67 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 34 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 103 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 79 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 27 Unlock Company Profile
GENTEX 58 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koito Manufacturing is the leading patent filer in smart dimming headlights for the automotive industry. Koito and Reality AI are collaborating on the next generation of adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlights, which will use AI to reduce false positive rates and provide more accurate predictions. Toyota, Valeo, and Porsche Automobil are other significant patent filers in the innovation area.

In terms of application diversity Ricoh held the top position, while Panasonic and Apollo Global stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Dai Nippon Printing leads the pack, followed by Qualcomm and Magna International.

To further understand how Internet of Things is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) 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.