The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for enhanced driving experience, fuel efficiency, and engine performance, and growing importance of technologies such as air brakes, electrification, and connected and autonomous vehicles. 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: Multi-axle drive torque control. 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, 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

Multi-axle drive torque control is a key innovation area in automotive

Multi-axle drive torque control allows the torque control to be distributed between multiple axles, providing greater traction and stability in a variety of driving conditions such as rain, snow, and ice. Another benefit is its ability to improve performance in off-road and rough terrain 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 multi-axle drive torque control.

Key players in multi-axle drive torque control – 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 multi-axle drive torque control

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 105 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 79 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 58 Unlock Company Profile
Dana 45 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 31 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 30 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 30 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 23 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 22 Unlock Company Profile
JTEKT 21 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 17 Unlock Company Profile
Melrose Industries 17 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 16 Unlock Company Profile
Magna Powertrain 16 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 14 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 12 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 11 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 11 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 10 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 10 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 9 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group 6 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan Infracore 6 Unlock Company Profile
Baoding Innovation Great Wall Asset Management Company 5 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 5 Unlock Company Profile
Land Rover UK 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Honda is one of the leading innovators in multi-axle drive torque control with 79 patents. The company has developed a multi-axle drive torque control device, which is used within a drive system that is mounted on a vehicle. The drive control device establishes the condition of the road surface and uses a motor to propel a vehicle’s wheels and a brake device to stop them. It prevents the vehicle from slipping by adjusting the drive or motor torque, and the brake torque. Other companies innovating in this technology domain are General Motors, Hyundai, and Kia.

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.