Silicon Valley Is Not Leading the World of Self-Driving Auto Innovation

Self-Driving Car 1 photo
Photo: Google
Because it now hosts the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas became a hot point in the automotive world and it proudly joins other venues such as the Nurburgring, Le Mans, Daytona or Silverstone, which are best known for their car connections. At CES 2016, the biggest carmakers out there are presenting their latest technologies, and this year the fully autonomous cars are the centerpiece.
When hearing words like driverless cars or technology, your mind instantaneously thinks about Silicon Valley, the birthplace of hundreds of global technology companies such as Google, Apple or Facebook.

According to a new study from the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson Reuters, this hot zone is not actually the leader of the self-driving cars market. Between 2010 and 2015, there were more than 22,000 new inventions related to fully autonomous vehicles, and the main players are already emerging. They are Toyota, Bosch, Denso, Hyundai, General Motors and Nissan.

The same research reveals that Toyota alone patented no less than 2,000 new driverless tech inventions in this period of time, with Bosch coming second.

When it comes to world regions, Asia is the undoubted winner, with 11 of the world’s top 20 self-driving vehicle developers coming from this continent.

The more specialized technology and research institutions were not left aside, and some actually surprised with driverless vehicle-related patents. Over the past five years, companies such as LG, Samsung, Boeing, Google, IBM, Amazon, Carnegie Mellon or MIT, have brought their immense contribution to this futuristic sector.

Thomson Reuters IP & Science analysts believe that the next big move in the fully autonomous cars world is a partnership between Apple and Tesla, and that an announcement will be made right after CES.

We are inclined to believe they might be right because, in a recent interview, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has left room for speculation when asked if his company is considering developing a car. The problem raised was that it wouldn’t be easy, given the fact that Apple doesn’t have its own factory where it could build such car. But now, together with Tesla, this might not be so impossible after all.

So, the only thing we can do now is wait for CES 2016 to end and keep our eyes and ears open because something big is coming.
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