Theme innovation landscape

Robotics innovation: leading companies in obstacle detectors for the automotive industry

Credit: Bert van Dijk/Getty images.

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The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by enhanced driving experience, safety and fuel efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.2 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in Automotive: Obstacle detectors.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 619,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the automotive industry, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Obstacle detectors is a key innovation area in robotics

Ultrasonic sensors mounted on the front and/or rear bumpers are used in an obstacle detection system. These sensors can gauge the separation between a vehicle and nearby obstructions in the immediate vicinity of the front or rear bumper. Beeps or the dashboard display serve as warnings to the driver.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of obstacle detectors.

Key players in obstacle detectors – a disruptive innovation in the automotive 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 obstacle detectors

Denso is one of the top companies in the obstacle detectors innovation area with 177 patents filed. The company's obstacle detection system uses a radar device that directs a radar wave forward of the vehicle and evaluates the radar echo.  The primary focus of the system is to determine the range and angle of a detected object. Toyota, Honda, and Intel are a few other notable patent filers in the same industry.

To further understand how robotics is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.

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.