ZKW 4th in European Patent Applications
Last year, the Wieselburg lighting system specialist applied a total of 57 innovations for international patents – 50 of them in Europe, and seven in China. The automotive supplier leads the patent rankings in Lower Austria for 2020. ZKW is 4th place in Europe among all Austrian companies that submitted their inventions in Europe. ZKW secured a top placement thanks to the company’s many innovations in intelligent lighting and sensor solutions required for autonomous driving. Research and development are central at ZKW. New products with modern measurement technology are tested in the company’s lighting channel, which is one of Europe’s largest. “Our patents represent the values of our company. Innovation is essential to us, to illuminates a path towards the future” explains Oliver Schubert, CEO of the ZKW Group.
Smart light technology for the future
The majority of the large number of patents ZKW applied in 2020 are for technologies and sensors used in autonomous driving. “One of these inventions, for example, ensures an optimal view of camera sensors at night, by providing targeted illumination of the area around the vehicle with an intelligent headlamp” explain developers Thomas Reiter, Christoph Bierwipfl and Stefan Weissensteiner. Often, sensors can become dirty and cause problems. If their sensing capacity is greatly impacted, this can make autonomous vehicle operation impossible. Because of this, ZKW developed a solution for cleaning the sensor area – for instance using high-frequency vibrations or a targeted jet of water – and applied it for a patent.
Austria one of the most innovative nations
Overall, a total of 2,737 inventions were applied at the Patent office last year. Despite the pandemic, Austria was once again at the top of the rankings for international patent applications. The country was 6th in the EU and 11th in the world as a whole, proof of the force of innovation of Austrian companies. Austria was above-average in the EU for climate protection technologies, in particular.