The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by enhanced driving experience, fuel efficiency, and engine performance, and growing importance of technologies such as electromechanical actuators, sensors, 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: Parallelogram type suspensions. 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 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

Parallelogram type suspensions is a key innovation area in automotive

Parallelogram type suspension design is characterised by its complex arrangement of multiple control arms and linkages, which work together to provide optimal control, stability, and ride comfort. A key feature of parallelogram-type suspensions is the use of multiple control arms that are positioned in a parallelogram shape. These control arms are typically attached to the vehicle chassis or subframe at various points, and they connect to the wheel hub assembly. The control arms are usually arranged in an upper and lower configuration, forming a multi-link system, which helps in isolating road vibrations and impacts, resulting in a smoother and more comfortable ride.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of parallelogram type suspensions.

Key players in parallelogram type suspensions – 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 parallelogram type suspensions

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Porsche Automobil Holding 231 Unlock Company Profile
Polaris 167 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 167 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 130 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 115 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 114 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 105 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha Motor 80 Unlock Company Profile
BRP 79 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 75 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 72 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 60 Unlock Company Profile
Tenneco 41 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 40 Unlock Company Profile
NTT 39 Unlock Company Profile
Nikola 37 Unlock Company Profile
Immsi 35 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 35 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 32 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 30 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 29 Unlock Company Profile
REYCO GRANNING 29 Unlock Company Profile
Isuzu Motors 22 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 21 Unlock Company Profile
Sistemi Sospensioni 20 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 19 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 19 Unlock Company Profile
Fuji Heavy Industries 18 Unlock Company Profile
Textron 16 Unlock Company Profile
Yorozu 16 Unlock Company Profile
GIBBS TECHNOLOGY COMPANY 16 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 15 Unlock Company Profile
Butchers & Bicycles 15 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 15 Unlock Company Profile
Iveco Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
General Dynamics 15 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 14 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 14 Unlock Company Profile
Multimatic 14 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 13 Unlock Company Profile
Benteler International 12 Unlock Company Profile
KYB 12 Unlock Company Profile
Platinum Equity 11 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 11 Unlock Company Profile
Triggo 10 Unlock Company Profile
Bourns 10 Unlock Company Profile
Goldhofer 10 Unlock Company Profile
Bose 9 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hagie Manufacturing Company 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Porsche Automobil is one of the leading innovators in parallelogram type suspensions with 231 patents. The company offers air spring suspensions in the shape of parallelograms, including the air-suspended axle in a parallelogram suspension. This type of suspension has no rotational motion and only moves a very short distance linearly between the loaded and unloaded positions, which lessens the issue of dock walk that is present in suspensions using trailing arms. Other companies innovating in this technology domain are Kia, Hyundai, and Renault.

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.