According to a report put together by Thompson Reuters’ Intellectual Property and Science Division, Toyota spent the last couple of years filing hundreds of patents related to autonomous driving. The report said that Toyota’s 1,400 patents outstripped any other automaker or tech company by a factor of two.
The report also noted that automakers in general have more patents related to autonomous vehicles than Silicon Valley companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google do. While that might be surprising considering Google has appeared to lead the charge on self-driving cars, nearly all the major automakers in the US have some sort of autonomous vehicle division or lab at this point, whether they’re working on making fully self-driving cars or just moving to implement automatic braking in newer vehicles. Alphabet, Reuters says, ranks just 26th on the list of companies with the most patents related to self-driving vehicles.
Still, the number of patents a company has does not necessarily mean that that company will have success in the autonomous driving market. “Non-US companies tend to be more aggressive in filing patent applications than American companies,” Reuters wrote. “The quality of patents is also important, since not all are created equal.”
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