Innovators at Ford submitted nearly 6,000 new inventions for patent consideration in 2015—an increase of 36% from 2014—with many related to autonomous and connected vehicles, wearable devices, eBikes, navigation, ride-sharing platforms and other technologies.
These include technologies to help autonomous vehicles detect other vehicles at obstructed intersections, technologies to alleviate range anxiety in electrified vehicles and to extend range in real-world driving. Another new invention is designed for cyclists—allowing riders to report road obstacles to help other riders.
Another technology would suggest a safe vehicle speed based on nearby infrastructure, average vehicle speed and GPS data, and a new front brake light technology would improve vehicle-to-vehicle and autonomous driving-to-pedestrian communication.
By hosting—and participating in—more internal hackathons and innovation labs, our employees are stepping up to show that inventing is a priority for leadership in the industry.—Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president and chief technical officer
Hundreds of Ford employees all over the world are responsible for this achievement. In the past three years, Ford employees in Asia Pacific increased invention disclosure submissions more than 140%, North America is up almost 100% and Europe saw an increase of more than 50%.
Powertrain technologies. Ford has increased filing of electrification patents nearly 200% in the past five years. In 2014, Ford filed for more than 400 patents dedicated to electrified vehicle technologies. Earlier this year, the company opened up its portfolio of electrified vehicle technology patents for licensing to competitive automakers to accelerate industry-wide research and development.
Ford has 275 US patents on its EcoBoost gasoline turbocharged direct-injection technology, with another 200 pending—more US patents on this type of technology than any other automaker today.