But when it comes to the number of autonomous technology patents filed over the past decade, it’s not Tesla (the American company is not even on the top ten list), nor is it Toyota, or anybody else, in the lead. The honor belongs to American carmaker Ford, at least as far as Google Patents is concerned.
Google's search engine is used to sniff through patents filed with some 100 of the biggest organizations of their kind in the world, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO). And sniff they did, the guys over at British dealership network Bristol Street Motors.
As per their findings, Ford is the leader when it comes to the related technology patents filed over the past decade: over 14,000 of them. Next up is Toyota, with over 12,000, and, far behind the two, Honda with close to 4,000.
The list, available as the main photo of this piece, also includes Volkswagen, Hyundai, Audi, Land Rover, Nissan and Volvo, but there’s a surprise entry at the bottom of the list: it’s Ferrari, which filed over 1,000 autonomous driving-related patents this past decade.
As for why Tesla is missing from the list, well, we're not sure that’s important. What’s important is that, as you might remember, there’s an All Our Patent Are Belong To You policy in effect from all the way back in 2014.