The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification and safety features requirements and growing importance of technologies such as integrated brake controls (IBC) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD). 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: Braking system fluid circuit.

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

Braking system fluid circuit is a key innovation area in automotive

A hydraulic brake circuit is a configuration of braking mechanisms that transfers pressure from the controlling mechanism to the braking mechanism, which utilises brake fluid that usually comprises glycol ethers or diethylene glycol.

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 braking system fluid circuit.

Key players in braking system fluid circuit – 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 braking system fluid circuit

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Robert Bosch Stiftung 583 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 580 Unlock company profile
Continental 568 Unlock company profile
Aisin 460 Unlock company profile
Mando 442 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 386 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 319 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 180 Unlock company profile
Ipgate 172 Unlock company profile
Autoliv Nissin Brake Systems Japan 105 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Mobis 95 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 69 Unlock company profile
Nuova FourB 52 Unlock company profile
Tokai 49 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 38 Unlock company profile
BYD 32 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 30 Unlock company profile
Nissin Kogyo 23 Unlock company profile
Denso 21 Unlock company profile
General Motors 18 Unlock company profile
Kia 17 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 14 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 12 Unlock company profile
Tata Motors 9 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 8 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 8 Unlock company profile
SSW Partners 8 Unlock company profile
Magna International 6 Unlock company profile
NTT 5 Unlock company profile
Toyota Jidosha Kogyo 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Continental is one of the top players in the braking system fluid circuit segment with 568 patents filed. The company is creating wheel brake solutions for new vehicle architectures and new environmental brake requirements. Other companies in the braking system fluid circuit segment are Robert Bosch Stiftung, Toyota, and Aisin.

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.