A new study of patents reflected just how quickly interest driver assistance and telematics technology that can help inform drivers of road and traffic conditions has grown in recent years.
South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor posted the biggest gains in the number of patent filings over the past five years, narrowing the gap with industry leader Toyota, according to the report by Thomson Reuters IP & Science.
The automotive sector saw the number of patent filings around the world grow by double digits year-on-year during the past five years, the report said.
While Google, Inc. has dominated headlines in self-driving cars, Toyota, GM and Hyundai received the most patents in this area, said Bob Stembridge, one of the report’s authors.
However, Google was awarded a patent for its driverless-car technology, which has challenged traditional suppliers and automakers, nearly four years ago.
Nevertheless, the survey, “The State of Innovation in the Automotive Industry 2015,” analyzed patent applications and mapped trends in five key areas: propulsion, navigation, handling, safety and security and entertainment.
Hyundai was among the leaders in every category, ranking number three overall behind Toyota Motor Corp and Robert Bosch, the big German supplier that has led developments in several key areas such as technology to help engines work more efficiently as well as handling and safety.
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In another measure of Hyundai technology offensive, the South Korean automaker has found itself tangled up in more patent litigation in recent years. Hyundai ranked third in the number of patent lawsuits filed by the firms, which specialize in suing others for infringement. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., are the top targets for the patent trolls, according to SU Intellectual Property, a Seoul-based IP firm.
Overall, Hyundai’s patent filing has surged in recent, growing to 1,300 in 2013 from 500 in 2010 patents. Hyundai is the fastest-growing, most up-and-coming innovator in the automotive business, reports suggest.
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Overall, Asian and German automakers dominated the top 10 companies for patent applications, while GM, ranked seventh, was the only U.S. company making the list.
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Telematics refers to the linking of wireless communication devices with computers in cars, for navigation, to track vehicles on the road, or to control a car’s functions from your smart phone.