The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by fuel efficiency, engine performance and safety standards, and growing importance of technologies such as electromechanical actuators and air brakes. 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: Power steering drive circuits. 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

Power steering drive circuits is a key innovation area in automotive

Power steering drive circuits comprise of a steering wheel, steering column, universal joint, rack and pinion, and an electric motor. The steering column remains connected to the pinion and rack by the universal joint and receives its connection from the steering wheel. The other end of the rack is still fastened to the wheel assembly through the tie rods.

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 power steering drive circuits.

Key players in power steering drive circuits – 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 power steering drive circuits

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Mitsubishi Electric 403 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 286 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 284 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec 162 Unlock Company Profile
JTEKT 54 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 30 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 13 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 12 Unlock Company Profile
Mando 12 Unlock Company Profile
KYB 9 Unlock Company Profile
Mondragonoracion Cooperativa 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nexteer Automotive Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Steel 7 Unlock Company Profile
ZF Lenksysteme 7 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Mitsubishi Electric is one of the leading innovators in power steering drive circuits with 403 patents. The company has developed power steering drive circuits, which can deliver the required torque assist at various vehicle speeds and driver torques, while offering the best fuel efficiency. Other companies innovating in this technology domain are Mando, KYB, and Hitachi.

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.