Research and innovation in artificial intelligence in the automotive manufacturing and supply sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of AI patent applications in the industry stood at 279 in the three months ending September – down from 405 over the same period last year.

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Figures for patent grants related to AI followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 150 in the three months ending September last year to 141 this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

AI is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Toyota Motor Corp was the top artificial intelligence innovator in the automotive manufacturing and supply sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in Japan, filed 62 AI related patents in the three months ending September. That was down from 93 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the United States based Ford Motor Co with 50 AI patent applications, the United States based General Motors Co (47 applications), and Japan based Honda Motor Co Ltd (19 applications).