Google drives ahead in connected car patents

Google has more patents than most automakers on connected and self-driving cars, according to Oliver Wyman’s new Automotive Manager.

Oliver Wyman’s analysis of patents involving connected and self-driving cars showed there were almost 1,200 patents filed between 2012 and 2016.

Almost one third were filed by tech companies, led by Google.

Google almost tied the leader — Audi, with 223 — in the connected car and self-driving category, with 221 patents.

Google filed more than BMW (198) and Daimler (159) individually, and more than GM (141) and VW (75) combined.

The other five in the non-auto group were Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Uber.

Oliver Wyman said the automobile was undergoing a transformation, “moving from a means of conveyance to becoming a data center on wheels.”

It said for car manufacturers to maintain their leverage, they had to build alliances and concentrate on R&D resources.

“This is one of the most exciting times in the auto industry in decades, perhaps for a century,” said August Joas, head of Oliver Wyman’s Automotive Sector.

“However, the excitement also brings challenges. Success – and possibly survival – depends on being nimble, flexible, and imaginative.”