The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by factors such as proper transmission of torque from engine to drivetrain and improving vehicle efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as friction and hydraulic actuated clutches. 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 Internet of Things in Automotive: Cam actuated clutches.
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
Cam actuated clutches is a key innovation area in automotive
A cam clutch is a precision device that helps transmit torque in one direction only by wedging the inner and outer races together. It also means that there is no cam engagement when torque transmission is not required.
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 60 companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of cam actuated clutches.
Key players in cam actuated clutches – 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 cam actuated clutches
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Schaeffler is one of the leading patent filers in cam actuated clutches. In Schaeffler’s cam actuated clutches, the roller raises the cams after the clutch spins in a clockwise direction. Schaeffler’s cam clutches also help in delivering better fuel economy as well as having less wear and tear than a manual clutch. Other major patent filers for cam actuated clutches are Toyota Motor, BorgWarner, Aisin, and Valeo.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.