The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by enhanced driving experience, fuel efficiency, and engine performance, and the growing prevalence of technologies such as electromechanical actuators, sensors, air brakes, electrification, and connected and autonomous vehicles. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.2 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Automotive: Aerodynamic suspensions.
However, not all innovations are equal, and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.
290+ innovations will shape the automotive industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresight, which plots the S-curve for the automotive industry using innovation intensity models built on over 619,000 patents, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, eccentric crankshaft gears, retarder brake systems, and closed-circuit liquid cooling are useful technologies that are in the early stages of wider application and should be tracked closely. Bio-fuel ICEs, electromagnetic valve actuators, and road friction estimation are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are tyre bead fillers and vehicle turbochargers, which are now well-established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry
Aerodynamic suspensions are a key innovation area in automotive
Air suspension fitted in short wheelbase trucks helps them in dealing with harsher road conditions and reduces the bounce when the vehicle is empty. The air suspension considers the load of the vehicle as well as speed to adjust the height of suspension and helps in handling the corners at higher speeds.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40 companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of aerodynamic suspensions.
Key players in aerodynamic suspensions – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to aerodynamic suspensions
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Porsche Automobil Holding||398||Unlock company profile|
|General Motors||271||Unlock company profile|
|Burelle||127||Unlock company profile|
|Tata Motors||115||Unlock company profile|
|Hyundai Motor Group||108||Unlock company profile|
|Toyota Motor||103||Unlock company profile|
|Magna Exteriors||88||Unlock company profile|
|Ford Motor||56||Unlock company profile|
|Kia||51||Unlock company profile|
|Mazda Motor||42||Unlock company profile|
|Valeo||41||Unlock company profile|
|Honda Motor||40||Unlock company profile|
|Ferrari||38||Unlock company profile|
|Bayerische Motoren Werke||35||Unlock company profile|
|Mercedes-Benz Group||33||Unlock company profile|
|Aisin||31||Unlock company profile|
|Magna International||27||Unlock company profile|
|Multimatic||23||Unlock company profile|
|Renault||21||Unlock company profile|
|YANFENG PLASTIC OMNIUM AUTOMOTIVE EXTERIOR SYSTEMS||20||Unlock company profile|
|McLaren Group||16||Unlock company profile|
|Subaru||14||Unlock company profile|
|Rochling Automotive||14||Unlock company profile|
|Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin||14||Unlock company profile|
|Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings||14||Unlock company profile|
|Flex-N-Gate||13||Unlock company profile|
|AVL List||11||Unlock company profile|
|Hitachi||10||Unlock company profile|
|Nissan Motor||9||Unlock company profile|
|AB Volvo||9||Unlock company profile|
|Fuji Heavy Industries||9||Unlock company profile|
|ParagonaA||8||Unlock company profile|
|Stellantis||8||Unlock company profile|
|REHAU||7||Unlock company profile|
|ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems India||7||Unlock company profile|
|Swift Group||7||Unlock company profile|
|HS Genion||6||Unlock company profile|
|Zhejiang Geely Holding Group||5||Unlock company profile|
|REHAU||5||Unlock company profile|
|Faraday & Future||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Porsche Automobil is one of the leading innovators in aerodynamic suspensions. The company has developed an active aerodynamic technology that includes retractable spoilers and an air-spring suspension chassis, which allows the car to be lowered at high speeds. Other companies innovating in this technology domain are General Motors, Hyundai, and Burelle.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.