The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in driver fatigue monitoring is driven by factors such as rising concern about road safety and stricter government regulations mandating the use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and growing importance of technologies such as lane departure warning system and automatic emergency braking system. 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: driver fatigue monitoring. 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 the 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

Driver fatigue monitoring is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Driver fatigue monitoring refers to the use of technology and sensors to detect and monitor the level of fatigue or drowsiness in a driver. This technology aims to prevent accidents caused by drivers falling asleep or being in a drowsy state while operating a vehicle. It involves the use of various sensors and algorithms to track the driver's physical and cognitive indicators, such as eye movement, facial expressions, and brainwave activity, to determine their level of fatigue and issue appropriate alerts or interventions.

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 fatigue monitoring.

Key players in driver fatigue monitoring – 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 fatigue monitoring

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Mobis 173 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 63 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 108 Unlock Company Profile
INRIX 88 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 63 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 124 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 84 Unlock Company Profile
HL Mando 53 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 721 Unlock Company Profile
Cox Enterprises 93 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 59 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 75 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 199 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely 84 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 845 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 106 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 168 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 54 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 340 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 78 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 124 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 100 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 285 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 128 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 77 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 108 Unlock Company Profile
LG 318 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 59 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 250 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 98 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 661 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 475 Unlock Company Profile
Nio 69 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 93 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 82 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 63 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hyundai Motor is one of the leading patent filers in driver fatigue monitoring systems. M.Brain from Hyundai Mobis is the world’s first brainwave-based driver monitoring system. The system checks for health issues like exhaustion, drowsiness, and distraction by analyzing the driver's brain waves and alerting him when necessary. Additionally, a smartphone app can be connected to the M.Brain system. Some of the key patent filers in the driver fatigue monitoring space include Toyota Motor, Kia, and Ford Motor.

In terms of application diversity, Cox Enterprises leads the pack, while Nio and INRIX stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, INRIX held the top position, followed by Cox Enterprises and Nissan Motor.

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.