Ford is one of the most advanced manufacturers when it comes to technology and the money invested in research and development. No wonder that 2015 was a very full year for Ford and its engineers. According to a recent press release, Ford Ford employees delivered so many new inventions this year that the company has achieved a record number of new patents.
And there are really numerous patents, not one or two like you or I might think. Innovators at Ford submitted nearly 6,000 new inventions in 2015, with many related to autonomous and connected vehicles, wearable devices, eBikes, navigation, ride-sharing platforms and other technologies – an increase of 36 per cent from 2014. 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.
And even if it does not build bikes, there is another new invention designed for cyclists – allowing riders to report road obstacles to help other riders. There is also a new bike system that can detect bike lanes and alert cyclists of path deviations. Another one 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.
In the past three years, Ford employees in Asia Pacific increased invention disclosure submissions more than 140 per cent, North America is up almost 100 per cent and Europe saw an increase of more than 50 per cent.
Recently, Ford showcased the breadth of its patent portfolio by licensing robotic test driving technology, which saves time and spares human test drivers from such physically demanding tasks as driving over curbs and through potholes to prove vehicle durability.