According to accident reports released by the state of California, autonomous car companies testing their vehicles statewide have the most collisions when a human driver rear-ends a robot-driven vehicle.

On first glance, this makes no sense. Why are humans more likely to run into a computer-driven vehicle than into each other? It turns out that since robot-driven cars are busy following traffic rules, they can stop suddenly more often.

According to WIRED magazine, that “humans expect other humans to bend or break traffic rules, rolling through four-way intersections, accelerating to make a yellow light, or cruising over the speed limit.”

Programming a robot to obey traffic laws is hard enough, but to break them now and then? Maybe in 50 years.

So let’s talk present day. According to our 2018 Automobile Vision Patent Forecast, “Collision Avoidance” is a hot patent category. Who has the lead in this field? If we look at the past 3 years only, Toyota leads the way with several dozen related documents. Ford, Mobileye and Bosch follow closely behind.

You can see the specific number of documents to the left, which is a screenshot our from 2018 Automobile Vision Patent Forecast.

Of course, when it comes to leaders in autonomous vehicles, Toyota probably isn’t the first company that springs to mind. The perceived market leaders are the usually the ones mentioned in the news the most, which includes Tesla, Google/Wayno and UBER.

Here at Magic Number, that’s not how we select our winners. Our research shows that patent investment leads market activity, and years of experience has taught us that the players with the most patents usually win.

Here’s another screenshot from our Automobile Vision 2018 sector:

If you looking to bet on a winner in the autonomous vehicle technology race, don’t follow conventional wisdom. For a full breakdown on the winners (and losers) in the autonomous industry, check out our Automobile Vision 2018 sector.

And for goodness sakes, if you’re behind an autonomous vehicle, don’t get too close.


As you know, patent investment leads market activity. If you want to have the inside scoop on this industry, just check out our Patent Forecast Automobile Vision Sector.