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Self Driving Vehicles in the EPO with Roberta Romano-Götsch

Self Driving Vehicles in the EPO with Roberta Romano-Götsch

Roberta Romano-Götsch, chief working officer of Mobility and Mechatronics on the European Patent Workplace (EPO).

In September 2018 I had the chance to go on the report with Roberta Romano-Götsch, the chief working officer of Mobility and Mechatronics on the European Patent Workplace (EPO). Throughout that interview Ms.Romano-Götsch talked about that the EPO can be quickly releasing a research on self driving automobiles. I expressed curiosity in talking together with her once more as soon as that research was revealed, and she or he agreed. Our dialog discussing this EPO research follows.

On this wide-ranging dialog that follows we talk about how conventional auto corporations and large tech corporations are each competing within the self driving area, and the way the EPO is seeing a rise in purposes from SMEs as nicely. We additionally talk about how the political local weather in Europe surrounding a push for higher gasoline effectivity and environmental considerations are a driving drive behind autonomous driving initiatives throughout Europe.

With out additional ado, right here is my newest dialog with Roberta Romano-Götsch.


QUINN: Thanks very a lot, Roberta, for taking the time to talk with me once more.  I do know that the EPO has only recently come out with a research on self-driving automobiles.  That is one thing we’ve talked briefly on beforehand and stated we’d comply with up on it.  So right here we’re.  I seemed on the report, which is fascinating in lots of methods.  Would you give us a bit little bit of background info on the research and also you begin by telling us what the research was about, what the research meant to do and what was the purpose of the research.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Positive.  I’m actually comfortable to select up the dialog the place we left off final time.  In order I discussed, we’re seeing a completely new panorama within the automotive sector with new gamers and IT corporations shifting in to the sector with their very own means of doing enterprise, and their very own patent methods which are fairly totally different from the    basic or conventional automotive makers.  We have now taken one other step and checked out patent filings on the EPO within the final ten years. As patent purposes are filed earlier than a product is available on the market, this can be a actually good solution to determine developments, improvements and merchandise which might be about to be launched.

What we’ve seen is that previously ten years there was speedy improvement and powerful patent-filing exercise within the space of self-driving automobiles (SDVs). In    specific, we have now seen a rise of 330% in patent purposes revealed on this subject within the final six years, in comparison with 16% throughout all applied sciences on the EPO in the identical interval, so it’s fairly spectacular.

When you check out the 25 prime candidates within the area you’ll surprisingly discover that half of them are conventional automotive makers, whereas the opposite half is definitely ICT automotive and telecommunications corporations.  We additionally discovered that Europe and the U.S. are main the best way in self-driving car innovation.  We very a lot anticipated the U.S. to be driving all of the sensible environments that allow SDVs to work together with one another    and with their environment, however surprisingly sufficient, each Europe and the US are dominant. European candidates stand out within the areas of Car dealing with, Sensible logistics and Notion, evaluation & determination. US candidates lead in Communication and Computing.

QUINN: And should you take a look at the highest 25, you’ll see that Samsung is on the prime, adopted by Intel after which Qualcomm, and people will not be automotive corporations.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Completely.  That basically signifies the correlation with the home R&D and funding in ICT for automotive.

QUINN: Sure.  And I didn’t understand this till I learn your report, however you cite the Brookings Establishment as saying that there was $80 billion already spent in R&D on this space and that’s simply virtually unbelievable.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: That’s right.

QUINN: From 2011 to 2017 the variety of self-driving car patents on the EPO has quadrupled.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: That’s proper. In 2017 alone we acquired almost four 000 new purposes on the EPO, and a few 18 000 over the previous ten years.  We’re undoubtedly taking a look at a really fast paced know-how. Additionally it is accompanied by totally different behaviour in patent methods: The variety of nations coated by a patent software is certainly bigger than in purposes filed by conventional automotive corporations. We see that candidates in self-driving automotive applied sciences goal for broad safety with considerably bigger patent households. Safety can also be extra often sought with regional (EPO) or worldwide patent workplaces (Patent Cooperation Treaty route), and spans a bigger variety of jurisdictions on common, which means that broad worldwide safety is much more essential within the automated car market.

QUINN: Sure.  The patent household measurement is bigger by 50% it appears like.


QUINN: And that’s statistically related.  I’ve some questions on whether or not and how briskly this know-how goes to return on-line.  There nonetheless is time, I suppose, in case you act shortly as a result of whereas we’re speaking concerning the numbers of software going up dramatically we’re nonetheless not speaking about tens of hundreds of purposes but, though it’s trending in the direction of that course in a short time.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: There are a number of linked elements.  In rising applied sciences basically – and SDVs are not any exception to this – you have a tendency to seek out three interlinked elements: One is technical innovation, and also you see that represented within the patent submitting developments.  One other is the position of funding by business.  However a really massive impression can also be made by policymakers.  You might want to have insurance policies in place to place automobiles on the street.  This consists of insurance coverage, security exams, and cyber safety.  That’s why governments play a key position.

QUINN: Sure, and I see that one of many challenges right here is clearly the safety and the validation and verification of this stuff.  Is there one thing like a path you can determine for us right now and say that you simply assume that is the place individuals must be wanting or perhaps an space that you simply don’t assume the general public has targeted on but that we must be specializing in?

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Usually talking, many rising applied sciences in the present day are pushed or influenced by various new legislations, just like the Paris Settlement of 2015. This consists of self-driving automobiles as a result of via autonomous driving, stop-and-go and a regulated visitors stream, you find yourself releasing much less CO2, which is likely one of the important aims of the Paris Settlement.  That is one facet.  However there are lots of different applied sciences starting from satellite tv for pc improvement to new GPS methods that target the broader scope of local weather change.  As a consequence, renewable power know-how is one other fast-growing sector. All of the rising applied sciences we see when it comes to patent filings mirror the overall goal for a cleaner, safer, smarter and extra sustainable world.

QUINN: That’s fascinating.  I wouldn’t essentially have considered self-driving as an surroundings piece of the puzzle.  However I suppose most of those self-driving automobiles are going to wind up being electrical, proper

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Sure, that is a part of the electrical car image.  However once more the large query mark right here is infrastructure, and that is the place coverage actually performs an necessary half.

QUINN: So, that is type of a hen and the egg type of query, proper?  I imply what comes first in your thoughts?  And I suppose perhaps it’s an unattainable type of query as a result of, I feel, typically policymakers will make unrealistic calls for and say “we should have this innovation by yr X.”  And that’s not all the time how innovation works.  However for those who set a objective and you progress individuals in accountable methods then innovation can and does reply and I feel that’s what you’re seeing.  That’s individuals making an attempt to reply in a big option to what you’re speaking about with the Paris Settlement, right?

ROMANO-GÖTSCH:. We see, for instance, that the EU is extraordinarily lively with many tasks and incentives to encourage different nations to scale back their gasoline consumption too.  Electrical automobiles are undoubtedly an enormous a part of that. Batteries are the limiting parts for now and, as I discussed, so is the infrastructure.  However in the event you visualize the longer term if you go  to a filling station the place you might have 5 or 6 totally different suppliers, you’re more likely to have an electrical charger and two or three several types of renewable energies.

QUINN: Proper.  Positive, go forward.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: In Europe the issue of local weather change is seen to be linked with gasoline, the gasoline exhaust gases and the tiny particles in these gases.  As a consequence, some roads in some cities in Germany are closed as a consequence of visitors and extreme exhaust emissions.  This drawback is seen as a serious driver in the direction of sustainable applied sciences and doubtless additionally to extra automated kinds of automobiles.

QUINN: That’s fascinating.  After which clearly the automated half is available in as a result of if it’s automated similar to if you’re on cruise management you save extra fuel as a result of the machine is doing what’s optimum for the engine.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH:  That’s precisely proper.  An much more enviromentally sustainable state of affairs is, in fact, if you mix carbon gasoline with electrical engines and autonomous drive .  In reality the benefit of self driving automobiles goes past saving gasoline. You may as well park automobiles proper subsequent to one another as you don’t want to go away area for the driving force to get out. Simply think about all of the area that you’ll save that method. It’s all actually interconnected.

QUINN: That is very fascinating.  Once I began desirous about how this interview was going to go, I didn’t see it going on this path.  That is fascinating stuff.  You introduced up battery know-how and that’s an space that I’m extraordinarily concerned with.  I understand you stated that’s a limiting issue and that’s, I feel, largest limiting issue to get from the place we’re proper now to the place we need to be with a cleaner, greener society.  I ponder whether you will have any info or ideas about when or if we’re going to get to that battery world the place we will have that clear inexperienced power that we would like.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: We’re at present wanting into this, as a result of energy is certainly the opposite main know-how that’s key to the automotive sector. Early indications present a steep improve however some questions stay: Will innovation stagnate as a result of laws is lacking?  That is nonetheless a really open level.  What we will say is that we have to begin wanting into a lot broader dimensions.  Once we speak about patent tendencies, with a purpose to perceive and interpret our knowledge, we’ve to intently monitor what is occurring when it comes to laws – the present coverage – and sit up for what that coverage is perhaps like in 2020. Right here in Europe we have now to be match: All those that signed the Paris Settlement have to be at a sure degree of environmental know-how by 2020.  Incentives have to be put in place, and that is what spurs innovation. With main improvements which are daring for giant corporations, the tendency is to have the daring analysis and innovation carried out by smaller enterprises or start-ups earlier than they begin investing at a bigger scale.  And that’s the actual change of paradigm in comparison with classical R&D:  Huge corporations typically want to have a start-up pushing the innovation, then see if their coverage works out, and solely then make investments or purchase the small firm.  That’s completely new.

QUINN: Yeah, and that’s not a really European mannequin, is it?

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: No, it’s utterly new.  We’re actually beginning to see the entire globe as an innovation area that’s interconnected. GPS know-how is one instance, as are renewable energies, and we clearly discover a paradigm shift.

QUINN: Sure.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: A few yr in the past we revealed a research on the fourth industrial revolution applied sciences. We discovered that in a few of the primary applied sciences – enabling applied sciences – there are a whole lot of SMEs out of the blue arising and dealing in these fields. In these applied sciences you don’t want a lot when it comes to hardware. The businesses can work with digital gear in a digital setting, which partly explains the marked push towards ICT purposes. However that has additionally triggered a really fascinating reflection on the worth of patents.  Europeans seem to have discovered quite a bit from Silicon Valley.

QUINN: You realize, it’s humorous that you simply say that as a result of I used to be simply considering as you have been speaking that Silicon Valley might study quite a bit from what you’re speaking about.  I don’t know whether or not you guys are going to need to tackle this however it strikes me that what you’re describing is a mannequin that used to exist within the U.S. and within the wake of the 101 chaos and whether or not you agree with what’s happening or not it’s unsure in America.  And I feel it has actually induced loads of these kinds of corporations to not be capable of get any sort of significant safety, or really feel like they will’t get it in order that they don’t need to attempt.  So what I’m wondering if Europe is beginning to see these SMEs gravitating to Europe the place you truly can get safety on these sorts of actually progressive issues they’re engaged on.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: What’s definitely value mentioning right here is that the authorized framework work of EPO is secure, strong and predictable on this area.  You recognize about our constant strategy to analyzing computer-implemented innovations, and as I used to be capable of level out at our final interview, every know-how sector on the EPO is now actually prime in a lot of these innovations which might be being carried out throughout all technical fields, starting from automotive to biotechnologies and chemistry.  The state of affairs in our patenting apply and our framework – the authorized framework – is predictable:  Inventors come to us understanding precisely what to anticipate.

On prime of that, the EPO could be very lively in going out and explaining its strategy to clients as a result of these are new applied sciences.  We actively work with universities in several cities throughout Europe and say what we do, and the way the patent system in Europe features.  And we do certainly see various patent purposes coming from SMEs.

QUINN: That’s nice as a result of a lot of these corporations which might be constructed from the bottom up on actually revolutionary sorts of applied sciences want safety.  And it’s not for everyone, I imply if all you’re doing is coding up one thing that has already heretofore existed and also you’re creating an app for an app retailer then sure, safety’s in all probability not for you.  However a few of what we’re speaking about right here is absolutely revolutionary.  And when you create it if it’s not protected then anyone can simply use it and take it.  And if you take a look at the variety of corporations concerned right here simply going again to the 2 25 record all of those corporations have huge assets, you realize?  And so if an SME doesn’t have significant safety they’re simply not going to have the ability to compete.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: You’re completely proper.  For SMEs, patents truly typically are their solely belongings, and important for receiving funding.  Patents are undoubtedly a means ahead for them.

QUINN: Sure.  Now I don’t need to take up an excessive amount of of your time and I do know you’re very busy however there’s one factor I do need to speak to you about as a result of it caught my eye particularly.  The chart that you’ve on web page 41 of the report takes up the entire web page and it lists the businesses and the business that they’re in and the varieties of purposes usually talking that they’re engaged on.  And far of what you see is what you may anticipate, you already know, like sometimes the pc corporations have a bigger share proportion of communications associated patents and the automotive corporations have a bigger proportion of the car dealing with sort patents within the self-driving area.  For instance Volvo has virtually four% of the patents within the self-driving area and Samsung has 6% and Intel virtually eight% within the communications area.  However then you definitely get to the share and sensible logistics and it’s everyone has one or two %.  That appears to me to be the place everyone is making an attempt to struggle for the longer term.  And in addition Notion which to some extent borders with Logistics.  I take a look at this as type of just like the interface and the controls, proper?  That’s what we’re speaking about right here, proper?

ROMANO-GÖTSCH:  Sure, completely.  Each Notion and Logistics are the forefront of SDV improvement. “Notion and Evaluation and Determination” captures the very applied sciences that make automobiles autonomous: all of the sensors that allow automobiles to gather info from their environment, and the superior software program and AI applied sciences that allow automobiles to course of and analyse this info and make autonomous selections. Sensible logistics is all the things that considerations, for instance, automated parking, the interface between automobiles, electrical energy grid, and even visitors administration, briefly to all the brand new attainable methods of making worth because of SDV. These are the kind of innovations by way of which the features and providers carried out by tomorrow’s automobiles are being reinvented.

QUINN: And it’s my understanding that that’s going to be the place there’s this massive race between all these corporations which might be making an attempt to innovate all in the identical space.  And your info type of recommend that that’s true and I don’t know whether or not you’ve got any perception into this specific desk or something you need to say however I assumed this was very insightful info.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: We’ve got seen that the established automotive corporations haven’t been idle both in comparison with ICT corporations.  They’ve been creating the classical elements of the car platforms in addition to robust and even main positions in Sensible logisticsand “Notion and Evaluation and Choice” within the research.

QUINN: Yeah.  So, is it right that automotive corporations try to catch up?

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: I might truly say that they’re nonetheless properly positioned within the race.

QUINN: Perhaps that’s simply the longer term, that these tech corporations play in a fast-moving tempo the place on some degree, in some circles they are saying patents don’t matter however then in the event that they introduce themselves or insert themselves into an space the place there’s been this mature market, i.e. banking or automotive then abruptly, patents actually do matter.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Undoubtedly.  We survey early tendencies and we anticipate to see blockchain come extra into play.  For instance, our consortia of automotive producers in blockchain:  Mobi is one, BiTA is one other. These are the large conventional automotive makers pulling collectively so as to set up requirements for blockchain.  We’re beginning to see the identical developments in different areas of innovation and can inevitably uncover parallels to the automotive sector.  We anticipate to see a progress there too, with the consortia forming new collaborations that have been unthinkable earlier than.  It’s actually a unique world from a couple of years in the past, and the normal automotive business is certainly adopting a brand new enterprise mannequin.

QUINN: Sure.  It’s actually fascinating to observe this.  I don’t know whether or not you’re a science fiction fan, or a Star Trek fan, however it’s virtually like one thing out of science fiction when these tech corporations become involved. It’s like they’re the Borg, you recognize?

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Sure.  [Laughter]

QUINN: Resistance is futile, you understand?  As a result of up to now we’ve seen in it these massive two areas –  you had very mature markets – with the banks who’s going to have the ability to tackle the banks, they’ve obtained all the cash.  After which abruptly you look, and the tech corporations are sitting on tons of of billions of dollars in money and nicely, they will tackle the banks.  After which who’s going to tackle the automotive business, you realize I imply they’re making automobiles no one needs to make automobiles.  After which swiftly automobiles develop into a rolling pc and it’s like oh, properly, wow, who noticed that coming?  I feel there’s an irony on this.  I don’t know whether or not you guys assume it too as a result of we’ve been informed don’t textual content when you’re driving and now your automobiles are a cellular hotspot.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Sure completely.

QUINN: I’m wondering to myself what mature market goes to be subsequent for the tech sector to invade.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Based mostly on what we see in patent purposes on the EPO, I’ve the sensation that the fourth industrial revolution has already began in almost all giant sectors, well being, banking, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, you identify it. There isn’t any doubt that they’ll deeply rework, the one questions are how briskly, and what is going to they seem like in the long run!

QUINN: I assume that’s what innovation is about you don’t all the time know the place it’s going to go or the place it’s going to return up.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: I feel you’re betting from an advantaged place as a result of we counted some 2 000 patent purposes at a really early part. I need to say that our PATSTAT database with its 100 million doc entries is extraordinarily useful.  Early on you possibly can see what innovation is popping out subsequent, and that’s actually superb.  Particularly for scientists, and we’re all scientists over right here.

QUINN: Sure, I feel individuals who aren’t taking note of the patent databases and looking and treating them like they are surely scientific assets are simply lacking out.  I do know not all patent purposes are created equal however there’s an terrible lot of actually good technical info within the patent databases.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: They’re getting higher on a regular basis. We just lately launched a brand new beta model of our free public patent database – Espacenet – that’s now far more user-friendly. It’s an actual step ahead. Anybody can use it to dig out patent info, and the truth that you could have it in 32 languages helps.  It’s an amazing supply of data and all our patent landscaping research have been made attainable by such instruments. Supported in fact with the good worth added by our scientists and engineers who’re additionally specialists in patent classification. Our new research is especially based mostly on retrieving the classification within the automotive sector and in software program for automobiles. With out this detailed professional information, such a bit wouldn’t have been attainable.  So it’s actually the mixture of experience and high quality instruments.

QUINN: I actually recognize you taking time to speak to me in the present day.  Is there something that you simply had needed to say that I didn’t’ ask you?

QUINN: Properly, nice.  Thanks I actually respect you taking the time to talk with me as we speak.

ROMANO-GÖTSCH: Nicely, it’s nice to have this chance to talk with you, Gene. Many thanks for that.

QUINN: Nicely, thanks.  Thanks very a lot.


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