The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in light detection and ranging (LiDAR) object detection is driven by improved safety, enhanced performance, increasing adoption of self-driving cars, and growing importance of compact, reliable, and cost-effective object detection and classification technologies. 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: LiDAR object detection. 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

LiDAR object detection is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

LiDAR object detection refers to the use of light detection and ranging technology to detect and identify objects in the environment. LiDAR systems use lasers to emit pulses of light and measure the time it takes for the light to bounce back after hitting an object, allowing for the creation of a three-dimensional representation of the surroundings. Object detection with lidar is commonly used in autonomous driving and intelligent transportation systems to enhance perception and enable safe navigation.

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 LiDAR object detection.

Key players in LiDAR object detection – 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 LiDAR object detection

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 63 Unlock Company Profile
FedEx 21 Unlock Company Profile
Lockheed Martin 20 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 434 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 455 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 21 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 29 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 89 Unlock Company Profile
Faro Technologies 64 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 22 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 111 Unlock Company Profile 226 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 94 Unlock Company Profile
LG 30 Unlock Company Profile
DEKA Research and Development 28 Unlock Company Profile
Wipro 20 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 21 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 28 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 29 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 141 Unlock Company Profile
Sick 29 Unlock Company Profile
Uber Technologies 35 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 62 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 33 Unlock Company Profile
Aurora Innovation 31 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing TuSimple Future Technology 28 Unlock Company Profile
Luminar Technologies 40 Unlock Company Profile
Aurora Operations 42 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 90 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Alphabet, Google's parent company, is one of the leading patent filers in LiDAR object detection for the automotive industry. The technology aims to reduce false positives, improve accuracy, and increase efficiency. Baidu and Amazon are some of the other key patent filers in this space.

In terms of application diversity, FedEx leads the pack, while Wipro and Kia stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Faro Technologies held the top position, followed by Kyocera and FedEx.

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.