The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in independent suspension steering is driven by improved drive comfort, fuel efficiency, and emission reduction, and growing importance of technologies such as steer-by-wire, adaptive damping, and air suspension. 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: independent suspension steering. 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

Independent suspension steering is a key innovation area in automotive

Independent suspension steering refers to a system that allows each wheel of a vehicle to move vertically and independently from the others, while still being connected to the steering mechanism. This type of suspension provides improved handling, stability, and comfort by reducing the transfer of vibrations and shocks from the road to the vehicle. It allows each wheel to maintain optimal contact with the road surface, resulting in better traction and 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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of independent suspension steering.

Key players in independent suspension steering – 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 independent suspension steering

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Volvo 30 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 17 Unlock Company Profile
Immsi 46 Unlock Company Profile
XCMG Construction Machinery 18 Unlock Company Profile
BRP 83 Unlock Company Profile
Isuzu Motors 27 Unlock Company Profile
NTT 46 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 33 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 25 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 88 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 26 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 55 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 31 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 114 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha Motor 81 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 33 Unlock Company Profile
NTN 24 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 169 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 124 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 55 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 264 Unlock Company Profile
Tenneco 45 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 92 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 81 Unlock Company Profile
Polaris 109 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 20 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 40 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 145 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 17 Unlock Company Profile
GIBBS TECHNOLOGY 18 Unlock Company Profile
REYCO GRANNING 34 Unlock Company Profile
Polaris 105 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 43 Unlock Company Profile
Nikola 40 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 17 Unlock Company Profile
Sistemi Sospensioni 19 Unlock Company Profile
Multimatic 17 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 120 Unlock Company Profile
REE Automotive 22 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Porsche Automobil is one of the leading patent filers in independent suspension steering. In Porsche’s independent suspension system, each wheel is allowed to move independently of the other wheels. when one wheel encounters a bump or irregularity in the road, it can move up and down without significantly affecting the other wheels. Independent suspension provides several benefits, including improved ride comfort, better handling, and enhanced traction, because each wheel can maintain better contact with the road surface. Ford Motor and Honda Motor are some of the other key patent filers in this space.

In terms of application diversity, Polaris leads the pack, while Komatsu and Yamaha Motor stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Immsi held the top position, followed by Polaris and Nikola.

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.