The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by driver and passenger comfort, safety, and growing importance of technologies such as adaption of double-lambda mechanism into rocker bogie suspension and dynamic ride control.  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: Ground clearance adjusting suspension system.

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

Ground clearance adjusting suspension system is a key innovation area in automotive

The height of vehicle suspension can be adjusted by utilising air or oil compression in the suspension springs. Manipulating the pressure helps in raising or lowering the vehicle body to suit road conditions.

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 ground clearance adjusting suspension system.

Key players in ground clearance adjusting suspension system – 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 ground clearance adjusting suspension system

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hitachi 89 Unlock company profile
Continental 29 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 28 Unlock company profile
Cummins 26 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 24 Unlock company profile
General Motors 23 Unlock company profile
Tata Motors 23 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Mobis 22 Unlock company profile
Stella Vermogensverwaltungs 21 Unlock company profile
Schaeffler 21 Unlock company profile
Haldex 19 Unlock company profile
Kia 18 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 18 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 18 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 16 Unlock company profile
Chudenko 13 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 12 Unlock company profile
Immsi 11 Unlock company profile
Beijing West Industries 10 Unlock company profile
Hendrickson USA 8 Unlock company profile
Lucid Group 8 Unlock company profile
ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems India 7 Unlock company profile
LG 6 Unlock company profile
KYB 6 Unlock company profile 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hitachi is one of the leading patent filers in ground clearance adjusting suspension systems technology where it has filed 89 patents. The company’s semi-active suspension system includes a sensor that detects bumps on the road and movements of the vehicle and a controller that controls the damper on each wheel. The semi-active suspension can respond to even slight variations in the road surface. The system obtains a high-level ride and handling performance with low energy consumption through real-time damping control. Hitachi also offers high-quality and performance suspension strut with wide size selections for flexible adoption in various vehicle sizes. Other key players in the innovation area are Continental, Porsche Automobil, Toyota Motor, Cummins and Tata Motors.

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.