The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the progress in robotics technology, characterised by enhancements in sensors, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the creation of robots with superior capabilities and versatility, and growing importance of technologies such as LiDAR, radar, cameras, global positioning system (GPS), and autonomous driving and vehicle control systems. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Robotics: Autonomous vehicle control systems. Buy the report here.

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 stabilising 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 technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, AI-assisted inspection, anti-collision LiDAR, and 3d object sensing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Autonomous harvesters, cleaning robots, and line follower robots are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas, welding robot and robotic vision are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the technology industry

Autonomous vehicle control systems is a key innovation area in robotics

Autonomous vehicle control systems can be used in cars, trucks, and other vehicles to help reduce driver fatigue and improve safety on the road. Autonomous vehicle control systems employ artificial intelligence and various technologies to enable vehicles to operate independently, without human intervention. These systems utilise sensors, cameras, and other advanced technologies to perceive and analyse the vehicle's surroundings, as well as plan and execute driving actions.

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of autonomous vehicle control systems.

Key players in autonomous vehicle control systems – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to autonomous vehicle control systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Alphabet 469 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 329 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 310 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 298 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 287 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 254 Unlock Company Profile
LG 235 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 214 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 167 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 165 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 164 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 139 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 113 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 107 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 104 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 101 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 90 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 79 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 74 Unlock Company Profile 71 Unlock Company Profile
Nio 70 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 67 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 63 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 61 Unlock Company Profile
Uber Technologies 53 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 53 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 48 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 44 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 35 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 35 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 34 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 31 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 30 Unlock Company Profile
Here 29 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely 26 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing TuSimple Future Technology 25 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 24 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 23 Unlock Company Profile
Pioneer 21 Unlock Company Profile
Perceptive Automata 20 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 20 Unlock Company Profile
Luminar Technologies 20 Unlock Company Profile
Fresenius 20 Unlock Company Profile
Allstate 18 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 17 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 17 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 17 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 17 Unlock Company Profile
Wipro 14 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 14 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Alphabet is one of the leading patent filers in autonomous vehicle control systems. The company’s patents are related to a vehicle having one or more computing devices that may receive instructions to pick up a passenger at a pickup location and determine when the vehicle is within a first distance of the pickup location.

When the vehicle is within the first distance, the computing devices may make a first attempt to find a spot to park the vehicle and wait for the passenger. When the vehicle is unable to find a spot to park the vehicle on the first attempt, the computing devices may manoeuvre the vehicle to make a second attempt to find a spot to park the vehicle and wait for the passenger. When the vehicle is unable to find a spot to park the vehicle on the second attempt, the computing devices may stop the vehicle in a current lane to wait for the passenger.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Ford Motor and Baidu.

In terms of geographical reach, Tata Motors leads the pack, followed by Airbus and Komatsu. In terms of application diversity, H3 Platform holds the top position, followed by Perceptive Automata and Emerging Automotive.  

Autonomous vehicle control systems have the potential to revolutionise transportation by enhancing safety, improving efficiency, and increasing accessibility, ultimately transforming the way people travel and shaping the future of mobility. To further understand how robotics is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics – Thematic Research Report.

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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.