Toyota Seeks Patents on Warning and Navigation Systems IPWatchdog.com 20140172290, entitled Navigation of On-Road Vehicle Based on Vertical Elements, would protect an apparatus comprised of a navigational unit which determines the position of a…
This is a really interesting article about patents being developed and sought by Toyota. The motor industry is full of innovation even though a lot of it takes decades to filter through to the new car sales lot.
Of course all car manufacturers do this. I used to love seeing the car design competitions Honda used to run for its staff, where they could create any kind of car they wanted, which ranged from the solar powered vehicles through to cars with built in spa pools.
A lot of car concepts come from left field, but then it takes years to persuade an organization to go ahead with a radical concept and then design, get OEM components built, order parts years in advance etc. Look at HUDS (Heads Up Displays) they were in science fiction movies and TV shows when I was little, but even today they are only in a minority of upmarket cars.
When I see concepts like ITS technology that can allow a car to know how far away and how fast the car in front of you is driving, I get excited. Especially when see things like the frequent nose to tail crashes on our motorways. But then I get really frustrated when the technology is proprietary.
I mean, who wants to buy a Volvo that can identify the speed of the car in front, avoid a collision with it, if i slams on the breaks to avoid a hedgehog crossing the road, if it only works when the car in front is also a Volvo of at least the same vintage.
I appreciate innovation and profit, I am all for patents and the ability to profit from ingenuity, that is essential for the motor industry to stay in business, and I do love cars. But I’m an idealist. What if the major car manufacturers licensed at least some IP to each other. For example, develop a new safety feature which can read roadside speed signs and alert the driver via a HUD that they are going to fast and that the signs are different to the speed the navigation system is telling them. Then sell the IP to their competitors.
If each car manufacturer focused on one area of specialty, maybe innovation would speed up. They can still have plenty of unique features that make buyers select their model over the others, but we could enjoy safer, cheaper, more enjoyable driving sooner.
On the other side of the fence I love what Tesla have done, making their IP open source so that anyone can use it. That adds so much value to their brand in my book. If I could afford one, I would buy it just because I like their sense of supporting the community of tomorrow. What a great thing to do.