Autonomous cars is a new Technological leap in the field of transportation. Imagine millions of cars, heavy duty vehicles, ships etc. being driven without drivers which will save a lot of human labor. Also, if such technology makes commuting safe and makes you reach your destination in time with 100% safety, it will save many innocent lives which are lost every year due to human carelessness or negligence while driving.
This technology is considered to be the NEXT BIG THING in the automobile sector. By combining the use of artificial intelligence and a bunch of sensors we will soon see cars roaming around with the driver seat being empty.
As with each new technology comes a new IP portfolio which makes the innovators dominate the market in the years to come; the top automobile tycoons in order to maximize their IP portfolio ranking and value in the self driving cars domain have already entered into a road rage by filing patent applications in various patent offices all over the world.
As shown in FIG.1 Toyota motors and Nissan corp. are emerging as key players in this technology with 121 and 107 total applications respectively.
FIG.2 shows the geographic dominance of the Autonomous cars technology with US leading the bandwagon followed by Europe and Japan. China also shows considerable filing of 321 patents in this domain with AU emerging as a new R&D hub.
An analysis of the patents in the self-driving domain shows many ground-breaking granted patents assigned to various transportation companies.
Volkswagen was credited with US patent no.6151539 titled “Autonomous vehicle arrangement and method for controlling an autonomous vehicle” describing necessary elements of autonomous driving vehicle.
Recently, Toyota Motors was granted a US Patent 9475491 Titled “Lane changing for autonomous vehicles” describing a method of changing travel lane of vehicle.
A US Patent 9244462 was granted to Nissan motor titled “Vehicle trajectory planning for autonomous vehicles” which claims a method of controlling Trajectory of Autonomous Vehicle based on Processors.
Wabco Gmbh Was granted a US Patent 9428163 Titled “Autonomous vehicle emergency braking method “ claiming Emergency Braking of autonomous vehicle using collision mitigation electronic system.
Oshkosh Corporation has a US patent 8139109 Titled “Vision system for an autonomous vehicle” claiming a vision system of autonomous vehicle consisting of processors and cameras operating under different speed range.
Honeywell International was granted a US Patent 7840352 titled “Method and system for autonomous vehicle navigation “ claiming a navigation method integrating GPS , inertial measurements, and image measurements.
In the end,these patents are acting as benchmarks in the field of autonomous cars industry and one can expect an innovation wave in the upcoming future as it is just the beginning.
Arun Kumar and Chetan Sharma