The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in electric power steering (EPS) is driven by fuel efficiency, emissions control, improved performance, and the growing importance of technologies such as steering wheel angle sensors, torque sensors, and yaw rate sensors. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in automotive: electric power steering (EPS). Buy the report here.

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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 stabilizing 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.

300+ 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 one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, integrated multi-motor drivetrains, electric power steering (EPS), and post-collision handling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Variable compression engines, V2V distance monitoring, and turbocharger shaft bearings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and plasma-jet ignition, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Electric power steering (EPS) is a key innovation area in automotive

Electric power steering (EPS) is an advanced steering technology that assists the driver in steering the vehicle by using an electric motor instead of hydraulic pressure. EPS systems can improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and provide more precise and responsive steering control.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of electric power steering (EPS).

Key players in electric power steering (EPS) – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to electric power steering

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Mobis 6 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 9 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 1 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 14 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 5 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 11 Unlock Company Profile
Infosys 5 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 6 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 4 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 5 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing TuSimple Future Technology 6 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 4 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Aptiv is the leading patent filer in the electric power steering segment. The company’s latest innovation in EPS is the active steering aids, which help the driver by actively influencing the steering system after environment evaluation. Some other key patent filers in this space include Mitsubishi Electric, Toyota Motor, and Honda Motor.

In terms of application diversity, Toyota Motor leads the pack, while Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Stellantis stand in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Honda Motor held the top position, followed by General Motors and Mitsubishi Electric.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive

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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.