The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by consumer demand for convenience and safety features and informed decision-making, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), connected and autonomous vehicles, and sensors. 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 Internet of Things in automotive: automated shipment tracking. 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, LiDAR scanners, smart automotive lighting, and autonomous steering are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle sensor network, AV tire health monitoring, and collision avoidance systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are remote trip monitoring and smart speed governors, which are now well established in the industry.

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

Automated shipment tracking is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Automated shipment tracking refers to the employment of equipment and procedures to track and monitor the movement of items during transportation. The usage of wireless communication technologies such as Bluetooth and GPS assists in getting shipment position information and transmitting the location data to a third device or cloud server for further use.

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 automated shipment tracking.

Key players in automated shipment tracking – 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 automated shipment tracking

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 9 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 9 Unlock Company Profile
FedEx 88 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 40 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 6 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Controls International 6 Unlock Company Profile
GEO Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 13 Unlock Company Profile
Semtech 8 Unlock Company Profile
Comtech Telecommunications 9 Unlock Company Profile
TIM 9 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 8 Unlock Company Profile
Life360 47 Unlock Company Profile
Roku 10 Unlock Company Profile
THINKWARE Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 18 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 11 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 11 Unlock Company Profile
HP 9 Unlock Company Profile
Huizhou TCL Mobile Communication 8 Unlock Company Profile
Amotech 14 Unlock Company Profile
360 Security Technology 9 Unlock Company Profile
Uber Technologies 10 Unlock Company Profile
Find-Me Technologies 9 Unlock Company Profile
Global Tel*Link 6 Unlock Company Profile
Allied Universal Security Services 7 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
Gogoro 11 Unlock Company Profile
Titan Health and Security Technologies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 15 Unlock Company Profile
Verizon Patent And Licensing 9 Unlock Company Profile
Thinkware 18 Unlock Company Profile
Thl 27 Unlock Company Profile
Ninebot Beijing Tech 6 Unlock Company Profile
BizMobile 7 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

FedEx is one of the leading patent filers in automated shipment tracking. The company is well versed in shipment tracking technology and, in recent years, has increased the research and innovation in adoption of the equipment supply tracking devices. Life360, Qualcomm, and Thl some other key patent filers in automated shipment tracking.

In terms of application diversity, Ninebot Beijing Tech leads the pack, while FedEx and Gogoro stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, FedEx held the top position, followed by Xiaomi and Thinkware.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) 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.