Servicenavigation und Suchfeld

Our Office

Inhalt

Autonomous driving, part 3: Facts and figures

Decorative picture of a bar chart

New figures and rankings: DPMA explains method of analysis

At the beginning of 2018 we published an analysis on autonomous driving. Among other things, it also dealt with the growing number of patent applications and the manufacturers holding the most patents valid in Germany. There was a lot of media coverage of our figures on this important technology of the future. In addition, we received inquiries from companies about our method of analysis. Due to the broad interest, we have decided to further expand the analysis and explain on this page how we proceed.

As reported, German manufacturers were at the top of the patent ranking with a clear lead. Last year 38% of the patents for the German market were granted to manufacturers in Germany, 30% and 13% to Japanese and US manufacturers, respectively.

Patent grants with effect in Germany published in 2017[1]
Country[2] Number
Germany 325
Japan 259
USA 112
France 41
Sweden 28
Others 97
Sum 862
[1]patents granted by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and the European Patent Office; EP patents at the DPMA after publication
[2]country of the first patent holder at the end of 2017

Audi AG ranks first among the manufacturers with the most grants in 2017, followed by Toyota Jidosha K.K. and Volkswagen AG. Our analysis now covers the ranking positions from one to ten.

Top 10 holders[1]
Top 10 Holder Number
1 AUDI AG 95
2 Toyota Jidosha K.K. 63
3 VOLKSWAGEN AG 51
4 Robert Bosch GmbH 46
5 Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. 32
6 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG 28
7 Aisin AW Co. Ltd. 23
8 Mitsubishi Electric Corporation 15
9 Ford Global Technologies, LLC 14
9 Volvo Car Corporation 14
9 YAZAKI Corporation 14
[1]first patent holder at the end of 2017; possible interlinking of business enterprises was not taken into consideration

With regard to the overall patents valid on the German market at the end of 2017, German manufacturers even have a slightly bigger lead: 42% are held by stakeholders in Germany.

Patents valid in Germany at the end of 2017[1]
Country[2] Number
Germany 2006
Japan 1350
USA 527
France 227
Republic of Korea 150
Others 550
Sum 4810
[1]patents granted by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and the European Patent Office; EP patents at the DPMA after publication
[2]country of the first patent holder at the end of 2017

Since many companies here want to know where they stand, we have created an additional ranking among the German stakeholders. Robert Bosch GmbH heads the list of Germany's top patent holders as of the end of 2017. Audi AG and Volkswagen AG rank second and third respectively.

Top 10 patent holders from Germany[1]
Top 10 Holder[2] Number
1 Robert Bosch GmbH 480
2 AUDI AG 321
3 VOLKSWAGEN AG 203
4 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG 130
5 Continental Automotive GmbH 93
6 Harman Becker Automotive Systems GmbH 71
7 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. 44
8 Continental Teves AG & Co. oHG 42
9 Valeo Schalter und Sensoren GmbH 36
10 Daimler AG 33
10 Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH 33
[1]country of the first patent holder at the end of 2017
[2]first patent holder at the end of 2017; possible interlinking of business enterprises was not taken into consideration

Overall, the analysis shows that the number of applications regarding autonomous driving has increased substantially over the last ten years. While the number of patent applications in the field of autonomous driving was still around 1,000 in 2008, well over 2,500 applications were received in the relevant fields of technology last year.

So much for numbers and top lists. Now to our methods used: In order to be able to carry out the analysis, we have based it on IPC classes. The IPC is a valid international system with a hierarchical structure that subdivides the whole sector of technology into classes, assigning all patent documents worldwide to certain fields. We have identified IPC classes that deal with autonomous driving and completely analysed them in our internal DPMAstatistik database system. This means that all applications or patents contained therein have been included in the present analysis. We carried out the analysis in February 2018.

Development of patent applications at the DPMA[1]
Field of technology IPC Main Class[2] 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Autonomous driving – course control in general G05D1 29 23 27 24 45 32 48 65 73 78
Assistance systems for drive control B60W30/00 - B60W30/17
B60W40/00 - B60W40/10
B60W40/12
B60W50/00
B60W50/04
B60W50/08 - B60W50/14
268 285 277 343 399 468 601 785 971 1085
Assistance systems for traffic control G08G1/00
G08G1/07
G08G1/087
G08G1/09
G08G1/096 - G08G1/0967
G08G1/097 - G08G1/16
186 207 175 247 267 350 367 500 542 512
Vehicle electronics in general B60R16/02 181 222 189 189 291 345 376 348 364 461
Navigation G01C21/04
G01C21/26 - G01C21/36
B62D6/00 - B62D6/04
B62D1/24 - B62D1/28
G08G1/0968, G08G1/0969
273 219 210 179 174 197 222 269 239 341
Sensor technology environment sensor systems G06K9/62
G01S13/93
G01S15/93
G01S17/93
79 85 52 88 111 79 104 110 112 156
Sum 1.016 1.041 930 1.070 1.287 1.471 1.718 2.077 2.301 2.633
[1]national patent applications and PCT applications in the national phase
[2]IPC main class valid at time of query; without any claim to be exhaustive; results not related to autonomous driving may be included

It should be noted, however, that there is no generally valid definition for assigning patent documents to the field of autonomous driving. Neither is there an IPC class that deals exclusively with autonomous driving; it is therefore not possible to make a completely clear distinction from other technical areas. The analysis should therefore be understood as the most accurate approximation possible to the current situation on the relevant market.


More information about facts and figures of the DPMA on our webpage Statistics

nach oben

Picture: iStock.com/nevarpp

Last updated: 6 May 2021 

Position

You are here: