The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the rising demand for an autonomous vehicle (AV) to lower operational costs and increased support in various cities for passenger transport services, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), automated driving system (ADS), sensors, and vehicle sensors network. 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 Robotics in automotive: robo-taxisBuy 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.

Robo-taxis is a key innovation area in robotics

Robo-taxis are autonomous vehicles that can transport passengers without a human driver, using sensors, algorithms, and machine learning to navigate roads and reach their destination.

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 robo-taxis.

Key players in robo-taxis – 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 robo-taxis

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 66 Unlock Company Profile
INRIX 54 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 24 Unlock Company Profile
Cubic 5 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 4 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 51 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 8 Unlock Company Profile
Wells Fargo 1 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 8 Unlock Company Profile
Allstate 3 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 11 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 3 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 28 Unlock Company Profile
LG 9 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 9 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 4 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Post 3 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 8 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 28 Unlock Company Profile
Uber Technologies 39 Unlock Company Profile
GoBrands 11 Unlock Company Profile
Bragi 2 Unlock Company Profile
Strong Force Intellectual Capital 3 Unlock Company Profile
Nuro 131 Unlock Company Profile
SimpsX Technologies 3 Unlock Company Profile
Kioxia 2 Unlock Company Profile
Odin Automotive 4 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 9 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 4 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nurois one of the leading patent filers in robo-taxis. The company has recently filed a patent for Orchestrator for the fleet management system, helping to monitor the completion of an assigned job by an autonomous vehicle. The company has also formed a long-term partnership with Uber for food delivery operations. Some other key patent filers in the space include State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, INRIX, and Alphabet.

In terms of application diversity, Aptiv leads the pack, while INRIX and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Nuro held the top position, followed by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and INRIX.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on 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.