The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need to enhance driving experience and safety, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, Internet of Things, robotics and cloud computing. 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: Floating caliper disc brakes.

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

Floating calliper disc brakes is a key innovation area in automotive

Floating brake callipers only have pistons on one side of the disc, while having pads that have contact with both sides of the disc. The calliper moves back and forth on bushings or pins serving as a clamp. The disc receives the piston's push only on the inboard side when the brakes are applied.

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 floating calliper disc brakes.

Key players in floating caliper disc brakes – 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 floating caliper disc brakes

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Stella Vermogensverwaltungs 241 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 219 Unlock company profile
Mando 102 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 89 Unlock company profile
Akebono Brake Industry 58 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 57 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Mobis 55 Unlock company profile
Aisin 49 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 46 Unlock company profile
Cummins 38 Unlock company profile
NTT 31 Unlock company profile
Haldex 29 Unlock company profile
ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems India 26 Unlock company profile
BPW Bergische Achsen 20 Unlock company profile
Continental 16 Unlock company profile
IMS Gear Holding 15 Unlock company profile
Nuova FourB 14 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 14 Unlock company profile
ThyssenKrupp 13 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 13 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 12 Unlock company profile
Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies 9 Unlock company profile
Tata Motors 8 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 6 Unlock company profile
SAF-HOLLAND 6 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Motors 6 Unlock company profile
KES Keschwari Electronic Systems 6 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 5 Unlock company profile
Keyang Electric Machinery 5 Unlock company profile
Kia 5 Unlock company profile
COSCO Shipping Holdings 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Stella Vermogensverwaltungs is one of the top companies in the floating calliper disc brakes segment, having filed 241 patents. The company creates, develops, manufactures, and sells brake discs, callipers, wheel-side modules, and braking systems. Some of the other companies that have filed patents in the same segment include Tata Motors, Honda Motor, 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.