Ford Authority

Ford Has Filed More Autonomous Vehicle Patents Than Any Other Automaker

It’s no secret that Ford has been pushing hard to develop self-driving vehicle technology over the last several years. The automaker has been testing autonomous vehicles in a number of cities across the globe in recent months, strengthened its partnership with Argo AI by obtaining a large investment from Volkswagen as part of its new partnership, all with an eye toward launching a self-driving commercial services business next year. And in the process, Ford has also filed more autonomous vehicle patents than any other automaker.

That tidbit of information comes to us from Fairview Research’s IFI Claims Patent Services, which just released a new study analyzing U.S. patents issued over the last five years. The study looked at all types of fast-emerging technology including artificial intelligence and quantum computers, as well as autonomous vehicles.

In its large portfolio of autonomous vehicle patents, Ford has been most active in the fields of vehicle navigation and control systems. Overall, Ford secured 2,025 patents in 2020, down slightly from 2,468 in 2019. That was still enough to secure 15th place in the overall patent rankings and second among automakers, behind only Toyota. IBM topped the list for the 28th straight year with 9,130 patents, while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued 352,013 patents in total.

Toyota and LG Electronics finished behind Ford in the number of autonomous vehicle patents filed. Meanwhile, IBM focused mainly on quantum computers, machine learning, and neural networks, which focus on imitating how the human brain works. One of its more interesting patents centers around how AI can understand conversational tones, which could be used in future customer service applications.

Meanwhile, Ford recently rolled out its next-gen Ford Escape self-driving test vehicles, which it says will lay the foundation for the automaker’s Autonomous Vehicle Services business when it launches in 2022.

We’ll have more on Ford’s self-driving push soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford business news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. fpvfan

    I believe Ford will do great with Autonomy and electric vehicles, however I feel that both of these things should be focused more on fleet vehicles than actual pedestrian vehicles. As far as the Autonomy goes, I believe Ford would do great getting back into the heavy duty trucking industry with an Autonomous system for tractor-trailer trucks for use in loading docks and areas like that. Honestly I believe that all full size trucks (F150 and larger) along with all fleet vehicles should be electric. GM’s Hummer, Rivian’s vehicles and even that hideous thing from Tesla are all showing that huge ICE gasoline and diesel engines are not necessary to make lots of power. granted ICE vehicle have their place still in the world but yes it is time for Electric vehicles to share the roads. I’ve felt for a long time that Ford needs to get back into the heavy truck business with an all new Electric Aeromax truck with certain autonomous features such as systems that can activated once a driver begins to feel fatigued and can operate similar to how systems in fighter jets work to monitor and assist the driver in certain situations and scenarios. I think that E-smart trailers should be paired to these tractors that are more aerodynamic and have inputs to monitor steering wheel input with rear-steer systems to make operating trucks easier and safer. E-Smart trailers should have rear wheel sets with independent suspension and braking systems along with electric powered differentials to assist in not only maneuverability but also in safer braking. While their load floors should be the same, the trailer should have a lower center of gravity and sleeker aerodynamic shell. Also if the trailers have electric motors, they can assist in the efficiency of the tractor that’s pulling them so it’s less strain on the tractor itself which can also help in traveling up and down grades. Along with heavy duty trucking, Fleet vehicles such as Transits and Transit Connects should also move to full electric AWD powertrains which would make them more useful to fleet companies. Police vehicles could switch over to the Mach E and Ford could make Mach E Variants that would be specific to law enforcement use as well as Pedestrian use but the Police Interceptor Mach E Variants would have more Autonomous features and wireless charging so while they’re sitting, they can charge their vehicles and take off as need be.


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