The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in vehicle infotainment is driven by  consumer demand for a personalized driving experience, the rise of autonomous driving, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), high-speed internet, and new display technologies and sensors, and growing importance of technologies such as AI-powered systems, augmented reality and virtual reality, 5G-connected systems, and context-aware systems. 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 Innovation in automotive: vehicle infotainment. 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, integrated multi-motor drivetrains, electric power steering (EPS), and post-collision handling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Variable compression engines, V2V distance monitoring, and turbocharger shaft bearings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and plasma-jet ignition, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Vehicle infotainment is a key innovation area in automotive

Vehicle infotainment refers to the integration of entertainment, information, communication, and navigation features into a vehicle's dashboard system. It involves the use of various technologies and components, such as touchscreen displays, audio systems, voice recognition, GPS navigation, smartphone integration, and connectivity options. The goal of vehicle infotainment is to provide a seamless and user-friendly interface for drivers and passengers to access entertainment content, stay connected, and enhance the overall driving experience.

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 vehicle infotainment.

Key players in vehicle infotainment – 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 vehicle infotainment

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Mobis 15 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 24 Unlock Company Profile
Stantec 34 Unlock Company Profile
Alps Alpine 64 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 69 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 67 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha 45 Unlock Company Profile
Tachi-S 15 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 46 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 115 Unlock Company Profile
Pioneer 68 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 37 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 32 Unlock Company Profile
Akzo Nobel 23 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 38 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 19 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 53 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 69 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 82 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 33 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 26 Unlock Company Profile
Bose 113 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 13 Unlock Company Profile
LG 15 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 18 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 96 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 65 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 49 Unlock Company Profile
Socionext 15 Unlock Company Profile
ASK Industries 14 Unlock Company Profile
Peiker acustic 19 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 149 Unlock Company Profile
Peak Design 17 Unlock Company Profile
Kinetix 16 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Samsung Group is one of the leading patent filers in vehicle infotainment. It filed patents for flexible modules for improved reliability and reduced weight. The company is investing in AI-powered voice assistants, AR/VR displays, and 5G-connected systems, to ensure a connected, personalized driving experience for consumers. Some other key patent filers in this space include Hyundai Motor, Bose, and Kia Motors.

In terms of application diversity, Akzo Nobel leads the pack, while Peak Design and Socionext stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Akzo Nobel held the top position, followed by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Kinetix. 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.