The automotiveindustry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by safety concerns, regulations and vehicle electrification, and growing importance of technologies such as brake-by -wire and regenerative braking. 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: Interlocking type brake lining.

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

Interlocking type brake lining is a key innovation area in automotive

Interlocking type brake linings apply frictional forces to a cylindrical drum attached to the wheel during braking operations to decrease its speed and provide better control of the vehicle.

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 interlocking type brake lining.

Key players in interlocking type brake lining – 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 interlocking type brake lining

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nippon Steel 92 Unlock company profile
Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies 76 Unlock company profile
Stella Vermogensverwaltungs 46 Unlock company profile
COSCO Shipping Holdings 42 Unlock company profile
Akebono Brake Industry 31 Unlock company profile
Beijing Tianyishangjia New Material 25 Unlock company profile
Nucap Industries 21 Unlock company profile
TMD Friction Services 14 Unlock company profile
Icahn Enterprises 14 Unlock company profile
Nuova FourB 10 Unlock company profile
Tenneco 9 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 9 Unlock company profile
ITT 9 Unlock company profile
SEW-EURODRIVE 8 Unlock company profile
Beijing Bei Mo Gao Ke Friction Material 8 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 6 Unlock company profile
PureForge 6 Unlock company profile
Gienanth 5 Unlock company profile
Util Industries 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nippon Steel is a key player in the interlocking type brake lining innovation area. The company’s interlocking-type brake lining helps in reducing emissions, running resistance, and engine displacement for better fuel efficiency. Nippon’s interlocking-type brake lining requires little maintenance, is more reliable, and offers protection. Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies, COSCO Shipping, and Stella Vermogensverwaltungs 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.