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
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.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.