Share this article

The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by connected vehicles as they keep drivers at the heart of the next phase of automobile innovation by using biometrics and other human interface technology. A connected car offers features such as intuitive access control and safe remote start-up, driver ID, in-car purchases, and other benefits. The innovation activity is also driven by the growing importance of technologies such as contactless fingerprint technology, facial recognition, iris recognition, palm vein recognition, and voice recognition. 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 Cybersecurity in Automotive: Contactless authentication.  Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 619,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the automotive industry, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Contactless authentication is a key innovation area in cybersecurity 

Without the requirement for physical contact, contactless or touchless access control allows for quick and safe passage via doors, gateways and obstacles, staff turnstiles, etc. Frictionless or contactless door entry and access control technologies such as biometrics, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), radio frequency identification (RFID), and smartphone keyless entry are gradually taking over as the preferred entry alternatives. 

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 contactless authentication. 

Key players in contactless authentication – 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 contactless authentication

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Thales 116 Unlock Company Profile
Vodafone Group 112 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 66 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 31 Unlock Company Profile
Gigsky 30 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 28 Unlock Company Profile
Network-1 Technologies 24 Unlock Company Profile
MC Familiengesellschaft mbH 23 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment Holding 21 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 17 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 17 Unlock Company Profile
KnowRoaming 15 Unlock Company Profile
Pismo Labs Technology 13 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 13 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 11 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 10 Unlock Company Profile
LiveU 10 Unlock Company Profile
Broadcom 9 Unlock Company Profile
Huizhou TCL Mobile Communication 9 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 8 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 7 Unlock Company Profile
Icomera 7 Unlock Company Profile
SIMBLION 7 Unlock Company Profile
Legend Holdings 6 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 5 Unlock Company Profile
Sca Ipla Holdings 5 Unlock Company Profile
SK C and C 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Thales, which is engaged in the development, manufacture, and trading of contactless authentication, currently holds 116 filed patents in contactless authentication for the automotive industry segment. Other innovators in contactless authentication for the automotive industry are Vodafone Group, Apple, and Samsung Group. 

To further understand how cybersecurity is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity in Automotive

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.