The car manufacturer leading the race for autonomous cars
Last week, the electric car manufacturer Tesla launched an "autopilot" which makes the car able to drive, change lanes and park by itself. Tesla is only one in the long line of car manufacturers that develop self-driving features. Even Google is testing completely autonomous cars, and Apple has also begun to work with the technology.
Despite the fact that it is Google who shouts with the loudest voice, it´s still one of the big, traditional car manufacturers who have the most patents in this area of technology, namely Toyota.
Company Analysis. The companies with the most patents on technologies for autonomous cars. Patents under the name "Fuji" belongs to Subaru.
This is confirmed by a unique analysis of patent activity that the Stockholm based company IAMIP has conducted on behalf of Ny Teknik, Sweden's leading business magazine for technology enthusiasts. IAMIP has developed and sells a unique, cloudbased software, P²ALS for analysis and monitoring of patent information.
IAMIP has winnowed all published and public patents, as well as patent applications in the art of autonomous cars, including various IT solutions. A total of more than 1000 patents, many of which are valid in many countries.
"This is a hot area, says Rebin Hosini, expert at IAMIP in monitoring and analysing technology trends. Many of the major car manufacturers has developed and patented technologies for autonomous cars since the 1980´s. But from 2006 the patent activity started to really accelerate. Companies and universities around the world began filing numerous patent applications, and it has continued since then, Rebin continues.”
According to the recent statistics from IAMIP, Toyota, the one with most patents, has a total of 138 patents and published patent applications in the field of autonomous cars.
In second place we find the German company Daimler with 70 patents. Google has quickly moved up to third place with 66 patents, despite the fact that the first patents from Google appeared as late as 2010. After Google we find GM from the US with 56 patents and then Nissan from Japan with 53 patents.
Filing activity overview 1987-2015. The trend really took off in 2006. The decrease from 2014 and onwards is because it takes 18 months before a new patent application is published.
In recent years, Toyota, GM, Google, Daimler, but also Audi has been the most active players. Technique which involves traffic control systems, automatic driving in lanes and automatic parking shows high patent activity.
The patent information also reveals that David Ferguson, who leads the development of machine learning and image recognition at Google, is the most active inventor of autonomous cars with his 22 patents. In total, four of the five most active inventors can be found at Google and one at Audi.
Inventor´s activity. Four out of five of the inventors who have the most patents in technology for autonomous cars can be found at Google.
The Swedish car manufacturers cannot be found among the top 12 in the world, but Volvo Cars has 14 patents, Scania 7 and Volvo Trucks has 2 according to the fresh data from IAMIP.