Autonomous vehicles key reason Ford sees 25% increase in patents
Ford Motor Company registered 1,442 patents this year, a 25% increase from 2015, and the most among the largest automakers in the U.S., according to the Detroit Free Press.
Based on data compiled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Toyota was granted 1,368 patents so far this year, followed by General Motors at 1,131 and Honda at 1,011.
The increase can be attributed to a push to develop autonomous vehicles. Raj Nair, EVP for product development and CTO at Ford, attributed the increase to the push to develop more semi- and fully autonomous technologies as Ford and its competitors position themselves for shared-vehicle mobility, reports the Detroit Free Press.
“We are living the innovation mindset in all parts of our business across the globe,” Nair said in a news release. “Our employees are delivering exciting new technologies for our customers at record levels.”
The automaker was granted 1,700 more patents in other countries, bringing the total to more than 3,100 patents granted worldwide this year.
One of those patents was for an invention that equips autonomous vehicles with drones. The system deploys a drone from an autonomous vehicle to map the surrounding area beyond what vehicle sensors can see. Passengers can control the drone using the car’s infotainment or navigation system.
Earlier this year, Ford also introduced the Carr-E, a multipurpose, electric personal transportation device developed by German-based engineer Killian Vas. The Carr-E can carry humans, packages and heavy objects.
Through this week about 5,500 Ford employees submitted invention disclosures, of which more than 2,200 were from first-time inventors.