The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing demand for autonomous robots in industries such as logistics, manufacturing, and healthcare, where precise navigation and mapping capabilities are crucial, and growing importance of technologies such as LIDAR and depth cameras, coupled with sophisticated algorithms, propelling the growth of SLAM path planning in robotics. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in technology: SLAM path planning. 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 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.

190+ 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 1.5 million patents, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, nanorobotics, autonomous harvesters, and line follower robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Surgical robots, SLAM path planning, and force feedback robots are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the technology industry

SLAM path planning is a key innovation area in robotics

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) path planning is the concurrent generation of an environment map and the determination of the device's position within it. It involves the utilization of a range of sensors such as cameras and depth sensors to collect data and make instantaneous decisions for navigation and exploration.

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 920+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of SLAM path planning.

Key players in SLAM path planning – a disruptive innovation in the technology 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 SLAM path planning

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Qualcomm 417 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 404 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 359 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 134 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 125 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 246 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 130 Unlock Company Profile
Faro Technologies 151 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 159 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 180 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 181 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 160 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 200 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 194 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 317 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 257 Unlock Company Profile
Deere 120 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 771 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 285 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 116 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 148 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 123 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 124 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 125 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 704 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 215 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 136 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 405 Unlock Company Profile
Mujin 141 Unlock Company Profile
Nuro 149 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in SLAM path planning, Sony Group is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patent pertains to an image processing system and method that enables the creation of a high-quality texture image from a specific viewpoint using an omnidirectional image. A drawing component produces a visual representation from a designated viewpoint utilizing a first layer image composed of a texture image and depth information from the omnidirectional image, along with a second layer image consisting of a texture image and depth data in regions where occlusion occurs in the first layer image's viewpoint. The technology finds application in scenarios such as a home server generating a display image from an omnidirectional image for a specified viewpoint. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Intel and Qualcomm.

In terms of application diversity, Nuro held the top position, while Walmart and Panasonic stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographical reach, Nuro leads the pack, followed by Deere and Walmart.

SLAM path planning is a pivotal technology in robotics as it enables machines to autonomously navigate and map complex environments in real time. This capability is crucial for a wide range of applications including autonomous vehicles, drones, and robots used in industries such as logistics, manufacturing, and healthcare.

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

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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.