The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for high efficiency, high-speed, high-power density, low vibration and noise, better electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and low cost, and growing importance of technologies such as permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) technology. 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: Electromagnetic starters.

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

Electromagnetic starters is a key innovation area in automotive

A magnetic starter is an electromagnetically controlled switch used to start an electric motor with a large load safely. It also provides under-voltage and overload protection and an automatic cut-off in event of a power failure.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of electromagnetic starters.

Key players in electromagnetic starters – 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 electromagnetic starters

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Robert Bosch Stiftung 268 Unlock company profile
Denso 194 Unlock company profile
Valeo 140 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 120 Unlock company profile
Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group Company 92 Unlock company profile
BorgWarner 67 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 62 Unlock company profile
General Motors 46 Unlock company profile
MITSUBA 43 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 42 Unlock company profile
Schaeffler 39 Unlock company profile
Mahle 27 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 26 Unlock company profile
Briggs & Stratton 9 Unlock company profile
Prestolite Electric (Beijing) 9 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 9 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 8 Unlock company profile
Aisin 8 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Limitada 6 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 6 Unlock company profile
Shanghai Valeo Automotive Electrical Systems 6 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 5 Unlock company profile
Jinzhou Halla Electrical Equipment 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Robert Bosch Stiftung is a key player in the electromagnetic starter innovation area. The company is involved in the development of electromagnetic starters with mechanically and thermally robust design, which provides the perfect solution for gasoline and diesel engines. Bosch electromagnetic starter is adapted to the demands of the vehicle and is identical in fit and performance to an original equipment starter. Mitsubishi Electric, Denso and Valeo are some of the other key players.

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.