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The healthcare industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by telemedicine, real-time diagnostics, smart hospitals, and access to digital therapies, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), robotics and data management practices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 106,000 patents filed and granted in the healthcare industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Vehicle driver physiological monitoring. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

200+ innovations will shape the healthcare industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the healthcare industry using innovation intensity models built on over 443,000 patents, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, drug delivery device security, microscopic image analysis models, and cellular imaging techniques are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, automated immunoassay analysers, and AI-assisted MRI are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart fitness training system and non-invasive physiological monitoring, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry

Vehicle driver physiological monitoring is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Vehicle driver physiological monitoring devices are smartphone-powered in-vehicle measurement systems that keep track of a driver's physiological signals such as breathing, eye blinking, heart rate, and heart rate variation. The physiological signals will be used to detect the onset of driver fatigue, which is crucial for timely application of drowsiness countermeasures, as driver fatigue is one of the major factors causing traffic accidents.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 240+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vehicle driver physiological monitoring.

Key players in vehicle driver physiological monitoring – a disruptive innovation in the healthcare industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to vehicle driver physiological monitoring

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 429 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 315 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 191 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 124 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 102 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 85 Unlock Company Profile
INRIX 83 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 82 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 78 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 76 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 75 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 75 Unlock Company Profile
adidas 72 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Data Solutions 64 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 62 Unlock Company Profile
Amer Sports 58 Unlock Company Profile
Predictive Safety SRP 58 Unlock Company Profile
Polar Electro 57 Unlock Company Profile
Cleveland Clinic Foundation 56 Unlock Company Profile
Baxter International 54 Unlock Company Profile
Applied Lifesciences & Systems 53 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 53 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 49 Unlock Company Profile
Mars 48 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 47 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 45 Unlock Company Profile
3M 38 Unlock Company Profile
FDNA 36 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 35 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 35 Unlock Company Profile
Garmin 34 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 33 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 33 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 32 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 31 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 30 Unlock Company Profile
Casio Computer 29 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 29 Unlock Company Profile
Dairymaster 29 Unlock Company Profile
Valencell 28 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 28 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 28 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm Holdings 27 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 27 Unlock Company Profile
Merck & Co 26 Unlock Company Profile
Konica Minolta 26 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Sons 25 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 23 Unlock Company Profile
Pentland Group Holdings 23 Unlock Company Profile
HealthWatch 23 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

NIKE is one of the leading patent filers in the field of vehicle driver physiological monitoring. Some other key patent filers in the field include Koninklijke Philips and Samsung Group.

In terms of application diversity, adidas leads the pack, followed by INRIX and Applied Lifesciences & Systems. By means of geographic reach, 3M Co holds the top position, followed by Applied Lifesciences & Systems and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in second and third spots, respectively.

Driver mistake is a key contributor to car accidents and fatalities. Many of the collisions are caused by poor driver cognition as a result of exhaustion, sleepiness, stress, or mental burden. Physiological data such as heart rate and breathing rate are important for assessing a vehicle driver's cognitive state. Automated technologies are gradually taking away the driver's duty for safe vehicle control. Worries, however, remain that during times of highly automated driving, a driver's situation awareness, mental workload, and concentration levels may be compromised, resulting in a lower capacity to reclaim control of the vehicle safely when certain control features are later restored to the driver. In such cases, physiological monitoring may be required to check the driver's status and ensure that the driver is appropriately attentive and aware.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.