Toyota Awarded More U.S. Patents Than Any Other Automaker in 2021
【Summary】Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp was awarded the most U.S. patents than any other automaker in 2021, according to a recent annual ranking by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), an industry trade group for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and other trade secrets. A majority of the patents secured by Toyota were related to electric vehicles, battery technology, autonomous driving systems, software and AI.
Japan's Toyota Motor Corp was awarded the most U.S. patents than any other automaker in 2021, according to a recent annual ranking by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), an industry trade group for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and other trade secrets.
According to the IPO, Toyota's engineers and scientists were granted a total of 2,753 patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2021. A majority of the patents were related to electric vehicles, battery technology, autonomous driving systems, software and AI.
It is the eighth consecutive year that Toyota has been the highest ranked automaker in the study. Last year, the Patent and Trademark Office awarded Toyota researchers and scientists 2,819 patents, a 4% jump from 2019.
"This year's patent list represents our efforts with respect to vehicle electrification, as evidenced by pioneering battery technology, as well as new IP to support Toyota's transition into a mobility company," said Frederick Mau, intellectual property counsel and director of patent licensing for Toyota Motor North America.
The world's automakers are investing billions in electrification, autonomous driving and battery technology and Toyota is no exception. The company continues to invest in innovative research and development (R&D). Since 2017, Toyota says it has invested over $1 million in emerging technology globally, including over $1 billion in R&D related to automated vehicles and robotics.
A significant portion of Toyota's R&D are by its Woven Planet Group, an expansion of the operations of the Toyota Research Institute that's tasked with developing autonomous driving and other advanced mobility technology for the automaker.
The Group includes four companies, Woven Planet Holdings, Woven Core, Woven Alpha and Woven Capital. The four companies are developing autonomous driving technology, robotics, smart city technology and more.
In April 2021, ride-hailing company Lyft Inc announced it was selling its autonomous driving unit to Woven Planet Holdings for $550 million. The deal included multi-year non-exclusive commercial agreements between Lyft and Woven Planet to accelerate the development and enhance the safety of automated driving technology.
Toyota's recent R&D work also includes the development of an automotive operating system called "Arene", which can handle everything from basic vehicle functions to advanced applications like autonomous driving. As development on the platform continues, Toyota has plans to put its Arene operating system (OS) into its vehicles by 2025.
The Arene OS will control basic vehicle systems including steering, braking and acceleration. It will also be able to manage vehicle safety systems, including location data and live traffic information.
"We are delighted to be recognized as a global technology leader as evidenced by the many patents issued to Toyota," said Sandra Phillips-Rogers, general counsel, chief legal officer and chief diversity officer for Toyota Motor North America. "The number of issued patents is a testament to Toyota's vast R&D efforts and the team members who bring these technologies to life."
In December, Toyota announced its revamped plans to rapidly electrify its model lineup. Those plans include a commitment to invest 8 trillion yen (US$70 billion) by 2030. Half of that amount would go towards the development of new electrified models. The company's updated electrification plans will include a mix of purely electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.
Toyota is also investing $3.4 billion to produce electric vehicle batteries in the U.S. The massive investment is for developing and localizing automotive battery production in order to meet demand for Toyota's future electric vehicles.
The investment is part of the $13.5 billion the automaker set aside for investment in battery development and production announced in Sept 2021 by Toyota North America. The automaker will establish a new company and build a U.S. battery plant together with Toyota Tsusho, the trading arm of the Toyota Group.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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