The global auto industry has lately made massive investment in the research and development sector and carmakers have been ranked second out of 41 industries.
A recent report released by the US trade group American Automotive Policy Council shows that automakers and their suppliers globally invest more than 115 billion dollars for research and development each year, pushed by the technological race that is constantly intensifying. This represents around 16 percent of the world’s R&D, more than the hardware, software, electronics or oil & gas sectors, carmakers being outranked only by the pharmaceutical companies. In the US, AAPC said automakers invested nearly 20 billion dollars in R&D last year, with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler accounting together for 18.7 billion dollars, nearly twice as much each year as NASA’s spending.
As a result of such an effort, the auto industry in US – suppliers included – is now employing nearly 10 percent of all the engineers and scientists working in the private sector. “Many Americans probably do not realize that each of these three companies have invested more in R&D than Facebook, HP, Dow or ExxonMobil,” Matt Blunt, AAPC president, said.
In such a competitive industry, all the sides involved are significant patents drivers. Each year, automakers, auto suppliers, and auto entrepreneurs from around the world file for nearly 60,000 patents, while filings for autonomous and hybrid vehicles have increased by almost 300 percent in the last ten years.