Grünecker patent study: Data Management for Autonomous Driving

The current world leaders in data management for autonomous driving are the USA and especially China. This is the result of a current patent study by Grünecker. This study investigates the published patent families in four patent classifications.

In the first step of the study, Jens Koch and Victor Lopes Aguiar, patent attorneys at Grünecker, as well as Sebastian Flach, Engineer at Grünecker, searched all applications of known startups relating to autonomous driving. They then determined the leading applicants worldwide over the past 5 years based on the published patent families.

The results of the study:

- In the fields of data processing, information acquisition and character recognition (patent classifications G06F 17/30, H04L 29/08, G06K 9/00, G06K 9/62) – all important for autonomous driving – the primary players are technology companies.

- In contrast, the innovations of car manufacturers are distributed significantly more broadly.

- Even though the applications of technology companies in the indicated patent classifications do not apply in the automotive sector, they are relevant for the vehicle of the future and, with autonomous driving, become increasingly important.

- Eight of the ten most active patent applicants for the indicated patent classifications come from China.

- Only IBM, Microsoft, Google and Amazon can compete with the Chinese.

- Among the traditional car manufacturers, General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen/Audi lead in Germany.

"The car of the future will be a driving computer, in which the metal and motorization will be less important than the data produced in driving," says Jens Koch, patent attorney at Grünecker: “In Europe there's still a need for action here.”

Further questions:

The leading patent applicants are active in countries which view data protection differently than Europe does. It has to be discussed who can dispose of the collected data. This question poses itself all the more urgently if the automotive sector is forced into dependence on partners in China or the USA. Jens Koch: “As Europeans, we have to ask how strong this dependence will become. And we have to find answers: Who gets the data? How will it be interpreted? Does it have to be deleted? Here, the legislator urgently needs answers.”

You can request the study from us at any time.

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