20 Companies Leading the AI Revolution

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Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that aims to create computers and machines that learn, work, and react like humans. The possibilities are endless, as evidenced by expanding research and advancements in the field. More than 1.6 million scientific papers related to AI were published between 1960 and early 2018.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recently released its first report on technology trends in artificial intelligence. The report, “WIPO Technology Trends 2019: Artificial Intelligence,” includes a ranking of the global institutions that have filed the most patent applications for AI inventions, which often comprise several patents and are called a patent family. Of the top 20 organizations filing patent families, all but two are companies.

Twelve Japan-based companies are in the top 20 along with three U.S.-based companies, two from South Korea, two from Germany, and one from China. It is worth noting that of the top 20 universities and public research organizations that have filed for AI patents, 17 are based in China and the other three are in South Korea.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) researchers collected and analyzed patent data using the FAMPAT database. It is important to note that the WIPO does not publish exact figures for most of these organizations, so these totals are estimates based on the chart published in the “WIPO Technology Trends 2019: Artificial Intelligence” report when an exact figure was not provided. LAI patent families (or filings) can be further categorized as either AI techniques that use different core algorithmic approaches to implement AI functional applications, or the applications themselves. For each organization, we list the most common category of inventions filed for both applications and technique patent families.

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20. Sharp
> Worldwide total patent family filings: 1,800
> Top AI functional application filing category: Computer vision, 1,086
> Top AI techniques filing category: Machine learning, 329

Japanese consumer electronics company Sharp has staked a claim to the marriage of AI and IoT with a program it calls AIoT, a network of AI-enabled devices that constantly monitor how they are used and adapt to offer personalized services and solutions. The company claims to have more than 150 such products in categories as diverse as pet care and audiovisual systems.

Source: dennism2 / Flickr

19. Bosch
> Worldwide total patent family filings: 1,900
> Top AI functional application filing category: Computer vision, 687
> Top AI techniques application filing category: Machine learning, 298

The German engineering and electronics company plans to invest about $340 million by 2021 on AI research at three AI centers around the world. Among the projects Bosch is working on is a deep network for video and radar signal processing for autonomous vehicle sensors.

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

18. LG Corp.
> Worldwide total patent family filings: 2,200
> Top AI functional application filing category: Computer vision, 1,362
> Top AI techniques application filing category: Machine learning, 271

Korean electronics giant LG’s ThinQ brand offers various products that are integrated with AI functions and services. These products, the company says, “can share and study information between themselves.” As with other AI smart-home forays, LG seeks to train the devices to understand how people use them in order to offer a tailored experience to each user.

Source: Rama / Wikimedia Commons

17. Ricoh
> Worldwide total patent family filings: 2,500
> Top AI functional application filing category: Computer vision, 1,993
> Top AI techniques application filing category: Machine learning, 502

As an imaging and electronics company, Ricoh’s AI focus has been on machine vision and image processing. For example, the company has developed a camera system that measures road surface conditions using an ordinary vehicle instead of a specialized one to inspect and schedule maintenance.

Source: Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images

16. Mitsubishi
> Worldwide total patent family filings: 2,700
> Top AI functional application filing category: Computer vision, 1,441
> Top AI techniques application filing category: Machine learning, 917

In addition to its partnership with Hitachi on a smart power plant, Mitsubishi conducts AI research in computer vision, speech and audio processing, and data analytics. The company also builds cars, and at this year’s CES, Mitsubishi showed off its Emirai 4 smart mobility concept car with an augmented reality, heads-up display, smart-home and mobile payment integration, and biometric authentication.