The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by enhanced driving experience, safety and braking performance, and growing importance of technologies which are being discovered to manufacture reliable braking parts and components. 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: Brake calipers.

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

Brake callipers is a key innovation area in automotive

The disc brake system, is found in most cars' front brakes, including callipers. The brake pads and pistons on a car are kept inside the brake calliper, which is used to create friction with the brake rotors in order to slow the wheels of the vehicle.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of brake callipers.

Key players in brake callipers – 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 brake callipers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Knorr Bremse 203 Unlock company profile
Brembo 145 Unlock company profile
Cummins 124 Unlock company profile
Akebono Brake Industry 113 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 109 Unlock company profile
Shimano 68 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 50 Unlock company profile
Mando 43 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 43 Unlock company profile
ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems India 41 Unlock company profile
BPW Bergische Achsen 29 Unlock company profile
Hendrickson USA 22 Unlock company profile
Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin 20 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Mobis 18 Unlock company profile
Aisin 18 Unlock company profile
Continental 17 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 16 Unlock company profile
Kyung Chang Industrial 12 Unlock company profile
Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies 12 Unlock company profile
Alcon Components 12 Unlock company profile
Nippon Light Metal Holdings 12 Unlock company profile
Tokai 11 Unlock company profile
COSCO Shipping Holdings 11 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 11 Unlock company profile
NTT 10 Unlock company profile
Immsi 9 Unlock company profile
Kia 8 Unlock company profile
Haldex 8 Unlock company profile
MANN+HUMMEL International 7 Unlock company profile
KYB 7 Unlock company profile
AB Volvo 6 Unlock company profile
Takano 6 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 6 Unlock company profile
SAF-HOLLAND 6 Unlock company profile
SEW-EURODRIVE 5 Unlock company profile
Campagnolo 5 Unlock company profile
Meggitt 5 Unlock company profile
Siemens 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Knorr Bremse is one of the leading patent filers in the brake callipers segment and currently holds 203 patents. The company provides brake callipers for superior braking performance at high speeds for high-performance cars. Other companies in the brake callipers innovation area for the automotive industry are Brembo, Cummins, and Akebono Brake Industry.

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.