Opinions differ when we talk about autonomous cars. On the one side everyone is awed by the efforts put into the development of self-driving vehicles by companies like Waymo in Silicon Valley, on the other side especially Germans are pointing out that most patents for autonomous driving are held by German car makers.
Of course we know that the number of patents is not necessarily an indication in the capabilities to bring the technology to market or that the development progress may be misleading. Some companies prefer not to file a patent just to avoid spilling the beans about their progress on those new technologies.
An analysis by Statista shows that Bosch lead the group, far ahead of Audi, Continental and and others, when counting the patents between beginning of 2010 and mid-2017. Google as the first internet company is ranked tenth.
Nikkei considered multiple factors in their ranking,not just the sheer number. They also considered the number of citations of patents, and the picture for the U.S. looks quite different. There we find Google-sister Waymo, which is developing self-driving technology, far ahead with 2,815 points of Toyota, General Motors, Ford, and Nissan.
The ranking considered three factors:the number of patents and how internationally they were file; the amount of attention that competitors paid to the patents and may have objected; and how well known the patents were with examiners and how often they cited them.
Although Waymo filed only 318 patents, they were cited a total of 769 times, a factor of 1.6 higher than Toyota’s patent citations, and 2.3 times higher than General Motors’.
This article has also been published in German.