The number of patent applications related to Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), a core technology for autonomous vehicles, is growing rapidly.
As some automakers such as Hyundai Motor, Mercedes-Benz and Honda promote the commercialization of Level 3 autonomous vehicles capable of conditional autonomous driving, competition is intensifying in the development of ADAS technology that assists drivers based on driving conditions.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office said on June 12 that ADAS-related patents filed in Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Europe had increased by about 20% annually, from 2,000 in 2013 to 6,000 in 2019.
ADAS technology automatically warns drivers of dangerous situations by recognizing driving conditions through sensing devices such as cameras, radars and light detection and ranging devices (LIDAR) and automates certain driving functions such as than speed control.
Car manufacturers have commercially introduced Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) which automatically adjusts a car’s distance from other vehicles, Intelligent Parking Assistance System (SPAS) which allows the car to park itself and the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system that alerts drivers when their vehicles are out of the traffic lanes.
By country, China accounted for the highest number of applications with 30.7%, followed by the United States (27.6%), Japan (20.8%), Korea (10.6%) and Europe (10.3%). By nationalities of the candidates, Japan (38.4%) took first place, followed by China (16.5%), Europe (15.9%), Korea (14.9%) and the United States (11.8%).
The top 10 automakers with multiple apps were Toyota (4,732 apps), Hyundai Motor (3,618), Honda (2,479), Nissan (2,025), Bosch (1,670) and Denso (1,454). While the majority of applications have been made by Korean and Japanese automakers, auto parts manufacturers such as Bosch, Denso, Mando and Hitachi have made such applications one after another. In the case of Korean companies, demands from electronic companies such as LG and Samsung have increased in addition to automotive companies. Applications from small and medium-sized companies such as StradVision and Thinkware are constantly increasing.
Based on patents registered in the United States, the United States has been rated as surpassing other countries in fully autonomous vehicle technology in terms of patent competitiveness. Japan is focusing on self-driving market concern by improving convenience and safety. As for Korea, it has a relatively low technology impact index, so more research and investment is needed to improve Korean technology.