Autonomous driving technology promises to disrupt and transform the automotive space as we know it, spurring a race between giants for the biggest breakthrough in human transportation since the airplane. In the past, organisations that were not native to the transport industry struggled to make a significant impact. This was largely due to the homogeneity of processes and vendors. The idea of software companies developing transportation systems would have been unimaginable 20 years ago, but it could soon be a reality. With the introduction of autonomous driving technology, the landscape is now two-pronged, with software and communication technology companies working on vehicles and automobile companies working on complex software concepts and sensors.

This article analyses large amounts of patent documents as well as standards contributions and SEPs declared to 5G, V2X and 802.11. In order to identify autonomous driving-related patents, the IPlytics Platform database was used to perform an extensive keyword search of worldwide filed patents in the field of autonomous driving technologies. The search was based on the patent’s content, making use of state-of-the- art stemming and semantic indexing methods. IPlytics identified 58,675 patents, which are part of 32,906 patent families (number of unique patents in the INPADOC database). Figure 1 illustrates the number of patent applications over yearly counts between 2009 and 2019. The graph shows an impressive growth trend in the last years. The amount of autonomous driving patents has quadrupled since 2016.

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