The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in sensor controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearing is driven by engine optimization, environmental regulations, fuel efficiency, and emissions reduction, and growing importance of technologies such as accelerometers, torque sensors, and transmission range sensors. 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 Internet of Things in automotive: sensor controlled CVT gearing. 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, LiDAR scanners, smart automotive lighting, and autonomous steering are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle sensor network, AV tire health monitoring, and collision avoidance systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among the maturing innovation areas are remote trip monitoring and smart speed governors, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the automotive industry

Sensor controlled CVT gearing is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Sensor controlled CVT gearing refers to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that uses sensor technology to regulate its gearing under various driving conditions. The transmission contains a variator unit, a planetary gear unit, and an input and output shaft. The sensor feedback helps to optimize the transmission's efficiency and performance.

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 vend ors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of sensor controlled CVT gearing.

Key players in sensor controlled CVT gearing – 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 sensor controlled CVT gearing

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Volvo 18 Unlock Company Profile
CNH Industrial 53 Unlock Company Profile
Liebherr-International 12 Unlock Company Profile
CLAAS 6 Unlock Company Profile
Dana 18 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 2 Unlock Company Profile
Melrose Industries 4 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 10 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 31 Unlock Company Profile
AGCO 41 Unlock Company Profile
Danfoss 4 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 543 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 2 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 61 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 27 Unlock Company Profile
Deere 25 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 2 Unlock Company Profile
Yanmar 44 Unlock Company Profile
LS 4 Unlock Company Profile
Atco 2 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 119 Unlock Company Profile
Yanmar (Tokyo Office) 20 Unlock Company Profile
AVL 3 Unlock Company Profile
Linde Hydraulics 4 Unlock Company Profile
ZF Industrientriebe Witten 5 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 109 Unlock Company Profile
YANMAR POWER TECHNOLOGY 6 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 64 Unlock Company Profile
Select Medical 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nissan Motor is one of the leading patent filers in sensor controlled CVT gearing. The company’s predictive shift control system utilizes advanced algorithms and predictive analytics to anticipate driving conditions, allowing the CVT to proactively adjust gear ratios for optimal performance. Some other key patent filers in this space include Kubota and Zeppelin-Stiftung.

In terms of application diversity, Toyota Motor leads the pack, while Komatsu and General Motors stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Nissan Motor held the top position, followed by Liebherr and Toyota Motor.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in 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.