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Ford Tops Auto Industry for Patents Granted in 2016

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Ford eChair

Ford eChair

Ford has been granted roughly 1,500 patents in 2016 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a 25% year-over-year increase from 2015 that has the automaker positioned at the top of its industry in terms of innovation.

Ford employees across the globe submitted an estimated 8,000 inventions for patent applications in 2016, up 40% from 2015 and 90% from 2014. At both a domestic and global level, the number of patent applications subbed by Ford employees is the highest that it has ever been in the company’s history. In addition to the 1,500 or so patents granted in the United States, Ford earned an additional 1,700 patents in other countries.

The Fruits of Ford Innovation: Next-gen crash avoidance tech keeps drivers safer

“We are living the innovation mindset in all parts of our business across the globe,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president, product development, and chief technical officer. “Our employees are delivering exciting new technologies for our customers at record levels. As an auto and mobility company, this is an exciting time, and our employees are aggressively advancing emerging technologies and increasing our mobility patents at record levels.”

Ford notes that more than 5,500 of its employees have submitted invention disclosures through the first 11 months of 2016, with nearly half of that number being first-time inventors. Patents granted in 2016 this year include a system that incorporates drones with autonomous vehicles for mapping purposes  and the Ford eChair, a lightweight electric wheelchair capable of self-loading itself into a vehicle.

“At Ford we are fully engaged in the current climate where inventions and out-side-the-box thinking are being produced rapidly,” said Tony Lockwood, Ford manager, virtual driver system, autonomous vehicle development, who was granted a patent for the idea along with fellow Ford employee Joe Stanek. “Ultimately, customers benefit as we open ourselves to new ideas and advance mobility using emerging technologies.”

Here’s an idea for a Ford inventor: patent an innovation that detects the presence of trash in a vehicle, gathers it up, and disposes of properly. This technology couldn’t be put that in the presidential limo over the next four years for fear that it might detect the presence of genuine human garbage, but it might come in handy for anyone else whose car is a little messy.

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