The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Consumer demand for safety features in vehicles is driving the development of vehicular vision systems. These systems can detect and avoid pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles, monitor driver attention, and warn of drowsiness. Advances in sensor technology, software algorithms, government regulations, and increased competition are driving innovation in these systems. Examples include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and night vision, which improve safety and performance in the automotive industry. LiDAR, radar, camera-based vision systems, and infrared vision are essential for autonomous driving. LiDAR uses pulsed laser light to measure distances to Earth, providing 3D information. Radar is less expensive, but more reliable. Camera-based systems capture images and use computer vision algorithms to identify objects. Infrared vision allows safe nighttime operation. 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: vehicular vision. 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

Vehicular vision is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Vehicular vision refers to the use of cameras and other imaging technologies in vehicles to improve safety and situational awareness for drivers and passengers. This can include cameras mounted inside and outside of the vehicle, as well as image processing and data analysis techniques to identify objects, hazards, and other important information.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vehicular vision.

Key players in vehicular vision – 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 vehicular vision

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 239 Unlock Company Profile
ZTE 89 Unlock Company Profile
AT&T 31 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 31 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 80 Unlock Company Profile
Pendrell 52 Unlock Company Profile
InterDigital 33 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 115 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 210 Unlock Company Profile
NXP Semiconductors 63 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 90 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 33 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 56 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 484 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 133 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 56 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 47 Unlock Company Profile
VMware 51 Unlock Company Profile
Cisco Systems 119 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 38 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 37 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 66 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 66 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 31 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 216 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 115 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 54 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 57 Unlock Company Profile 182 Unlock Company Profile
Arrcus 66 Unlock Company Profile
Headwater Research 247 Unlock Company Profile
Verizon Patent And Licensing 46 Unlock Company Profile
Headwater Partners I 111 Unlock Company Profile
Kip Prod P1 52 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

LG is one of the leading patent filers in vehicular vision, including cameras, sensors, software, and systems. The company's latest patent uses artificial intelligence to detect and identify road objects. LG's patents are used to develop new features for its vehicles and license to other automakers, making roads safer for everyone. Some other key patent filers in this space are Magna and Toyota Motor.

In terms of application diversity, HL Mando leads the pack. LG and The Allstate stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Sony Group held the top position, followed by LG and Caterpillar.

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.