The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. The increasing prevalence of self-driving cars has led to a growing demand for safe methods of driver authentication and vehicle access control. Compared to conventional authentication techniques like keys and passwords, biometric authentication has several advantages since it is harder to forge or compromise. Recent advancements in biometric technology have resulted in increased affordability, accuracy, and ease of use. Because of this, automakers can now include biometric authentication into their cars without compromising on efficiency or price. One of the most popular forms of biometric authentication found in cars is fingerprint scanners. With just a single touch, drivers may unlock and start their cars thanks to these devices, which are usually built into the door handle or steering wheel. The automotive industry is utilizing vital signs monitoring, facial recognition, iris scanning, and fingerprint scanning technologies to enhance driver biometric authentication. These technologies use sensors to monitor vital signs, analyze the driver’s face, and compare their face to a stored template. As these technologies become more affordable, they are expected to be integrated into more vehicles in the future. 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: driver biometric authenticationBuy 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.

Driver biometric authentication is a key innovation area in cybersecurity

Driver biometric authentication involves the use of biometric data such as facial recognition, fingerprints, and voice recognition to verify the identity of a driver and allow access to a vehicle or certain functions within the vehicle. The biometric data is unique to each driver and provides a more secure and convenient alternative to traditional methods of authentication such as keys or passwords.

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 driver biometric authentication.

Key players in driver biometric authentication – 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 driver biometric authentication

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 13 Unlock Company Profile
Northern Trust 10 Unlock Company Profile
Visa 62 Unlock Company Profile
Avaya 10 Unlock Company Profile
Motorola Solutions 25 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 21 Unlock Company Profile
Dover 21 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 21 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 29 Unlock Company Profile
Cirrus Logic 19 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 12 Unlock Company Profile
Tokai Rika 19 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 18 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 12 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 180 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 26 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 16 Unlock Company Profile
Thoma Bravo 10 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 24 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced New Technologies 10 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 22 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 12 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 20 Unlock Company Profile
LG 20 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 13 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 39 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 13 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 25 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 13 Unlock Company Profile
Nok Nok Labs 21 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 84 Unlock Company Profile
iProov 19 Unlock Company Profile
FaceTec 30 Unlock Company Profile
Proxense 22 Unlock Company Profile
Universal Secure Registry 13 Unlock Company Profile
Tesseract Health 28 Unlock Company Profile
Forticode 18 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Apple is one of the leading patent filers in driver biometric authentication. According to a patent filing from Apple, drivers may be able to unlock their cars using Face ID or Touch ID. When the driver approaches the car, the car will signal their smartphone. After that, the driver would use the mobile device to verify their identification before being allowed to enter the vehicle. Samsung Group and Visa are some of the other key patent filers in driver biometric authentication.

In terms of application diversity, Tesseract Health leads the pack, while Baidu and Qualcomm stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Tesseract Health held the top position, followed by Apple and Nok Nok Labs.

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.