The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the demand for connected vehicles and real-time tracking systems and urgent need for road vehicle safety systems, and growing importance of technologies such as friction braking and electromechanical braking. 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: Disc brake actuators.
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, resilient spoke wheels, auto-transmission lubrication circuits, and ignition switching engines are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Engine purge actuators, electro-dynamic braking, and adsorptive vapour recovery system estimation are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are collision avoidance braking control system and direct injection type engines, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry
Disc brake actuators is a key innovation area in Automotive
Brake actuators and diaphragm actuators are key components of a braking system as they convert the pressure exerted on the brake pedal into braking force. Diaphragm actuators ensure that the pressure generated is applied on the brake callipers, thereby pressing the brake pads against the brake discs.
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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of disc brake actuators.
Key players in disc brake actuators – 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 disc brake actuators
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Hitachi is a key player in the disc brake actuators innovation area. The company has manufactured new automotive disc brake pad set and is developing three electronic control technologies for chassis subsystems to improve safety, security, and comfort in the era of autonomous driving. For the brakes, an electro-mechanical brake (“Smart Brake”) is being developed that is expected to improve vehicle safety and economy using brake-by-wire for high responsiveness and precise control. Robert Bosch, Continental, NTT, Mando and Zeppelin-Stiftung are the other major key players 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.