The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by safety of passengers and pedestrians’ pre-collision, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, Internet of Things, and Robotics. 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 Internet of Things in Automotive: AI-assisted adaptive control systems.

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 stabilising 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.

290+ 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 619,000 patents, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, smart car seats, tyre sensors, and predictive maintenance systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Acoustic vehicle signalling devices, brake temperature monitoring, and autonomous parking are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are disc brake actuators and AI-assisted dimming, which are now well established in the industry.

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

AI-assisted adaptive control systems is a key innovation area in IoT

An adaptive control system automatically adjusts the controller parameters to account for changes in the system dynamics, while maintaining the overall performance of the system at its peak. Any deterioration in performance over time is accounted for by this control mechanism. The adaptive control system has components to estimate or measure the dynamics of the process. It also has other components to adjust the controller's properties as necessary. The controller modifies its own properties in order to sustain the performance of the entire system.

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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI-assisted adaptive control systems.

Key players in AI-assisted adaptive control systems – 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 AI-assisted adaptive control systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fanuc 353 Unlock company profile
Strong Force Iot Portfolio 2016 221 Unlock company profile
Factual 61 Unlock company profile
Omron 59 Unlock company profile
Siemens 55 Unlock company profile
Tokyo Electron 47 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 39 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 34 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 29 Unlock company profile
LG 27 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 27 Unlock company profile
EcoSense Lighting 25 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 24 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 24 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 24 Unlock company profile
Nu Skin Enterprises 23 Unlock company profile
Veolia Environnement 21 Unlock company profile
Emerson Electric 20 Unlock company profile
Johnson Controls International 18 Unlock company profile
Fujitsu General 17 Unlock company profile
Procter & Gamble 17 Unlock company profile
Edison Labs 16 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 13 Unlock company profile
Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems 12 Unlock company profile
Doosan 11 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 10 Unlock company profile
NEC 10 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 10 Unlock company profile
Kemira 9 Unlock company profile
Canon 9 Unlock company profile
Preferred Networks 9 Unlock company profile
DataInfoCom USAorporated 9 Unlock company profile
Daikin Industries 9 Unlock company profile
Aptiv 8 Unlock company profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 8 Unlock company profile
Yaskawa Electric 8 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 8 Unlock company profile
SVB Financial Group 8 Unlock company profile
MondayCom 7 Unlock company profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 7 Unlock company profile
Abiomed 7 Unlock company profile
Bayer 7 Unlock company profile
Intel 7 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 7 Unlock company profile
Georg Fischer 7 Unlock company profile
SoftBank Group 7 Unlock company profile
Falkonry 7 Unlock company profile
Air Products and Chemicals 7 Unlock company profile
General Motors 7 Unlock company profile
Apple 7 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Fanuc is observed to be a leading player in the segment of AI-assisted adaptive control systems, with 353 patents filed for the segment alone. One of the developments that the company dealt with was a patent to develop CNC Adaptive Control System for on-demand integrated adaptive control of machining operations.

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.


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.