The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by factors such as increasing demand for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology, growing adoption of AR/VR in the automotive industry, government regulations, technological advancements, decreasing cost, as well as growing importance of technologies such as display technologies 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 Virtual and augmented reality in automotive: AR/VR instrument clusterBuy 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.

AR/VR instrument cluster is a key innovation area in virtual and augmented reality

AR/VR instrument cluster is a display system that projects virtual images in front of a driver’s line of sight to provide them with information such as speed, fuel level, and navigation directions. The technology aims to improve safety by reducing the driver’s need to look away from the road.

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 AR/VR instrument cluster.

Key players in AR/VR instrument cluster – 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 AR/VR instrument cluster

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Marelli 111 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 228 Unlock Company Profile
Alps Alpine 157 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 383 Unlock Company Profile
Koito Manufacturing 159 Unlock Company Profile
Sekisui Chemical 140 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 441 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Kayaku 110 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 232 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 121 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 303 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Seiki 1626 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 105 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 134 Unlock Company Profile
Pioneer 289 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 583 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 469 Unlock Company Profile
JVCKENWOOD 427 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 229 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 239 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 957 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 392 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 194 Unlock Company Profile
Konica Minolta 154 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 547 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 163 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 216 Unlock Company Profile
LG 215 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 1346 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 813 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 204 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 120 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 189 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 190 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 218 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nippon Seiki is one of the leading patent filers in AR/VR instrument cluster. One of the key features of Nippon Seiki in the new instrument cluster is its use of a waveguide display. Waveguide displays are a type of display that can project images directly onto the driver's retina. This eliminates the need for a separate display unit and allows the instrument cluster to be much smaller and lighter. Another key feature of the new instrument cluster is its use of eye-tracking technology. Eye tracking technology will allow the instrument cluster to track the driver's eye movements and adjust the display accordingly. This will ensure that the drivers always have the information they need in their field of view. Some other key patent filers in the space include Denso, Panasonic, and Yazaki.

In terms of application diversity, Sekisui Chemical leads the pack, while Compagnie de Saint-Gobain and Ford Motor stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Nissan Motor held the top position, followed by Compagnie de Saint-Gobain and Sekisui Chemical.

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