self-driving car

TCT of Autonomous Vehicle IPCs

Is using Technological Cycle Time (TCT) an acceptable way to evaluate the vitality of an industry? If a firm was looking into expanding their core R&D competencies would an industry with a faster growth rate attract them? Rapid growth in an industry is like a forrest full of deer. Easy hunting and big rewards. On the other hand, stagnation can occur within a sector when serious technological hurdles start to slow the pace of development. In that situation, technological breakthroughs are needed in order to pave the way for continued growth (Kayal, 1999). According to Kayal’s theories and observations regarding technological progress in the superconductor and semiconductor fields, looking at the TCT for an industrial sector can give you an idea about the pace of technological development taking place. TCT of several IPCs is shown (thin colored lines) below. The overall range is generally between 5-8. All the IPC’s closely…

Read more

Autonomous Vehicles Patenting Activity

As autonomous vehicles get closer to a market reality, the patent engines will be firing up. What type of patenting activity can we see so far? Searching the USPTO abstracts for combinations of “autonomous”, “self- driving”, “car”, and “vehicle” I found a total of 271 patents. After organizing these patents into groups of their IPC class, I investigated each IPC class to determine if it is emerging or declining technology. Since vehicles such as submarines and airplanes have had autopilot functions since the 80’s there are some IPC classes such as “2D position controls” and “Steering Controls” that are already in decline. In order to find which IPC’s are emerging and which ones are in decline, I charted their growth of each IPC against it’s average over the 34 year period from 1976-2010. This is just a sample of the IPCs that I have investigated, however, it shows that some…

Read more