Ford Motor Co. employees have submitted a record number of nearly 6,000 patents this year, an increase of 36 percent compared to 2014. Many of the patents are related to connected vehicles, wearable devices, and ride-sharing platforms, among other technologies.
“Our engineers and scientists are inventing ways to address mobility challenges more than ever — with more patent applications filed this year on car-sharing, wearables, bikes, cloud computing, and in other areas to improve consumers’ lives inside and outside the car,” says Raj Nair, executive vice president and chief technical officer of Dearborn-based Ford.
Nair says patents were submitted for technologies to help autonomous vehicles detect other vehicles at obstructed intersections, along with technologies to extend range in real-world driving. Another new invention is designed for cyclists, allowing riders to report road obstacles to alert other riders.
Nair says other technologies related to mobility include one that suggests a safe vehicle speed based on nearby infrastructure, average vehicle speed, and GPS data, along with a new front brake light technology that would improve vehicle-to-vehicle and autonomous driving-to-pedestrian communication.
He says in the past three years, Ford employees in the Asia Pacific region have increased invention disclosure submissions by more than 140 percent, while North American employees increased submissions by nearly 100 percent and European employees filed more than 50 percent more patents.