The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in biometric vehicle access systems is driven by increased demand for convenience and security, advancements in biometric technology, government regulations, and competition from other automotive manufacturers. Consumers seek safer ways to unlock and start vehicles, while biometric technology ensures accuracy, reliability, and security. Governments also require vehicles with safety features. The latest biometric vehicle access technologies include facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and voice recognition. Facial recognition uses cameras to scan a driver’s face and compare it to a stored image, granting access if the two images match. Fingerprint recognition uses sensors to scan a driver’s fingerprints and compare them to a stored database. Voice recognition uses microphones to capture a driver’s voice and compare it to a stored voice print, granting access if the two prints match. Multimodal biometrics combines two or more biometric technologies for more secure and reliable vehicle access. 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 Cybersecurity in automotive: biometric vehicle accessBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over one million patents to analyze innovation intensity for the automotive industry, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Biometric vehicle access is a key innovation area in cybersecurity

Biometric vehicle access refers to the use of biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint recognition or facial recognition, to grant access to vehicles. It eliminates the need for traditional keys or keyless entry systems, and instead, relies on unique physiological or behavioral characteristics of an individual to verify their identity and provide access to the vehicle. This technology increases security and convenience by preventing unauthorized access and eliminating the risk of lost or stolen keys.

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 biometric vehicle access.

Key players in biometric vehicle access – 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 biometric vehicle access

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Marelli 37 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 13 Unlock Company Profile
Alps Alpine 112 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 21 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Motors 26 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 205 Unlock Company Profile
Sokensha 23 Unlock Company Profile
Tokai Rika 685 Unlock Company Profile
MinebeaMitsumi 9 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 21 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 20 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec 65 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 35 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha Motor 15 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 12 Unlock Company Profile
JVCKENWOOD 14 Unlock Company Profile
ALPHA 10 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 12 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 75 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 47 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 43 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 56 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 520 Unlock Company Profile
Yokowo 15 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsui Mining & Smelting 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 341 Unlock Company Profile
Brose Fahrzeugteile 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Soken 12 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Denso 13 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 12 Unlock Company Profile
ABUS Security-Center 8 Unlock Company Profile
Global Mobility Service 20 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 11 Unlock Company Profile
Auto Network Gijutsu Kenkyusho 78 Unlock Company Profile
Yushin Seiki Kogyo 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Denso 15 Unlock Company Profile
Yupiteru 16 Unlock Company Profile
Nomura Research Institute 26 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Tokai Rika, a global leader in the automotive industry, is one of the leading patent filers in biometric vehicle access. The company has filed a patent for a system using driver's facial recognition for biometric vehicle access.  Some other key patent filers in the space include Denso and Sumitomo Electric Industries.

In terms of application diversity, Nissan Motor leads the pack, while Hitachi and Abus Security Centre stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Global Mobility Service held the top position, followed by Brose Fahrzeugteile and Abus Security Centre.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity 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.