The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by fuel efficiency, engine performance and safety standards, and growing importance of technologies such as electromechanical actuators, air brakes etc. 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: Auto-transmission lubrication circuits.
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 stabilising 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 Foresights, 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 system, and closed-circuit liquid cooling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of 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
Auto-transmission lubrication circuits is a key innovation area in automotive
ATF, also known as automatic transmission fluid, is used to lubricate the clutches and gears in the automatic gearbox. The transmission oil pump, which is powered by the engine, pressurises the ATF. The clutches and bands in the transmission are engaged and disengaged by the pressurised fluid.
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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of auto-transmission lubrication circuits.
Key players in auto-transmission lubrication circuits – 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 auto-transmission lubrication circuits
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Aisin||62||Unlock company profile|
|Allison Transmission Holdings||58||Unlock company profile|
|Zeppelin-Stiftung||57||Unlock company profile|
|Toyota Motor||53||Unlock company profile|
|Mazda Motor||42||Unlock company profile|
|Nissan Motor||41||Unlock company profile|
|Hyundai Motor Group||38||Unlock company profile|
|Honda Motor||36||Unlock company profile|
|BorgWarner||31||Unlock company profile|
|General Motors||29||Unlock company profile|
|Porsche Automobil Holding||19||Unlock company profile|
|Schaeffler||17||Unlock company profile|
|Mercedes-Benz Group||16||Unlock company profile|
|Robert Bosch Stiftung||12||Unlock company profile|
|Kia||12||Unlock company profile|
|Carraro||11||Unlock company profile|
|Komatsu||9||Unlock company profile|
|Torotrak||9||Unlock company profile|
|Ford Motor||7||Unlock company profile|
|AB Volvo||5||Unlock company profile|
|Baoding Innovation Great Wall Asset Management Company||5||Unlock company profile|
|Magna International||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
One of the top patent filers in the auto-transmission lubrication circuits innovation area is Aisin. The company recently launched automatic transmission fluids for applications in Mazda and Subaru. The transmission fluids help in reducing fuel consumption and maximising the performance and longevity of the transmission system. Allison Transmission and Zeppelin-Stiftung are a few further significant patent filers in the innovation area.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.