The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increase in the number of road accidents and consumer awareness regarding enhanced safety, and growing importance of technologies such as active buckle lifters and active seat belts. 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 Internet of Things in Automotive: Sensor-integrated seat belts. Buy the report here.

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, acoustic vehicle signalling devices, autonomous parking, and brake pedal sensors are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle head up displays (HUDs), smart light dimmers, and automatic actuated vehicle doors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are road slope estimation and V2V distance monitoring, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for IoT in the automotive industry

Sensor-integrated seat belts is a key innovation area in IoT

In sensor integrated seat belts, a sensor checks to see if the buckle is fastened or unfastened, allowing the passenger safety system to gauge the ideal airbag deployment. Additionally, it serves as an input for the unbuckled warning system and the electronic park brake.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of sensor-integrated seat belts.

Key players in sensor-integrated seat belts – 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 sensor-integrated seat belts

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Autoliv 368 Unlock company profile
Tokai Rika 202 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 187 Unlock company profile
Ningbo Joyson Electronic 139 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 133 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 105 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 102 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 74 Unlock company profile
General Motors 68 Unlock company profile
Hosiden 65 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 58 Unlock company profile
Yazaki 38 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 36 Unlock company profile
Kia 33 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 24 Unlock company profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group 21 Unlock company profile
Aisin 21 Unlock company profile
Comcast 17 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 16 Unlock company profile
Boeing 16 Unlock company profile
Ashimori Industry 16 Unlock company profile
Denso 15 Unlock company profile
Indiana Mills and Manufacturing 15 Unlock company profile
Mack Rides 14 Unlock company profile
IMS Gear 14 Unlock company profile
Subaru 13 Unlock company profile
Warburg Pincus 12 Unlock company profile
Intel 12 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 11 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Mobis 11 Unlock company profile
Alps Alpine 11 Unlock company profile
Brose Fahrzeugteile 10 Unlock company profile
TKJP 10 Unlock company profile
Wonderland Switzerland 9 Unlock company profile
Littelfuse 9 Unlock company profile
IMS Gear Holding 8 Unlock company profile
Faurecia 8 Unlock company profile
Renault 8 Unlock company profile
Komatsu 8 Unlock company profile
SEW-EURODRIVE 7 Unlock company profile
BRP 7 Unlock company profile
BYD 7 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 7 Unlock company profile
Dorel Industries 7 Unlock company profile
MinebeaMitsumi 6 Unlock company profile
IEE 6 Unlock company profile
Fuji Heavy Industries 6 Unlock company profile
Bambino Prezioso Switzerland 5 Unlock company profile
Beijing Automotive Group 5 Unlock company profile
Valeo 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Autoliv is a key player in the sensor-integrated seat belt innovation area. Autoliv’s sensor-integrated seat belts work together with airbags in a collision. The seatbelt offers passengers an added sense of safety and guards them from potential further injury. It also encourages passengers to buckle up especially those seated in rear seats. Tokai Rika, Ford, Zeppelin Stiftung, and Ningbo Joyson Electronic are some of the other key players.

To further understand how IoT is 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.