The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for enhanced driving experience, fuel efficiency, and engine performance, and growing importance of technologies such as electrification, and connected and autonomous vehicles. 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 Innovation in automotive: power window tensionersBuy 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 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 Foresight, 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, integrated multi-motor drivetrains, electric power steering (EPS), and post-collision handing are useful technologies that are in the early stages of wider application and should be tracked closely. Variable compression engines, V2V distance monitoring, and turbocharger shaft bearings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and plasma-jet ignition, which are now well-established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Power window tensioners is a key innovation area in automotive

Power window tensioners are hidden inside the door panel, where they remain until they malfunction. When power is applied to an electric motor or in the case of manual windows, when the window crank is turned, the power window tensioner is the mechanical assembly that raises and lowers a window.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each power window tensioners and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of power window tensioners.

Key players in power window tensioners – 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 power window tensioners

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nippon Sheet Glass 14 Unlock Company Profile
Aston Martin Lagonda Global 7 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 60 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 73 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 31 Unlock Company Profile
ACS France 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hi-Lex 148 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 7 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 29 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 197 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 16 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 26 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 8 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 150 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 46 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 35 Unlock Company Profile
The Renco Group 41 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 19 Unlock Company Profile
Hochschule fur angewandte Wissenschaften Coburg 14 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 7 Unlock Company Profile
AGC 41 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 16 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 23 Unlock Company Profile
Brose Fahrzeugteile 389 Unlock Company Profile
Grupo Antolin-Irausa, 12 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 66 Unlock Company Profile
Fiat 11 Unlock Company Profile
Pilkington Italy 16 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 7 Unlock Company Profile
Johnan Seisakusho 12 Unlock Company Profile
Kuester Automotive Door Systems 42 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Aisin is one of the leading patent filers in power window tensioners. Aisin’s power window tensioners integrate an anti-pitch device that stops the window as soon as it recognizes an object on its edge while it is being pulled up for closing. The window tensioners have a power backup, which is supplied to the window circuit even after the engine is turned off. In case someone forgets to roll up the windows, this feature saves from the hassle of turning the ignition on again, just to pull up the windows. It also allows the driver to control the windows with just the touch of his fingers. Other major companies innovating in this technology domain are Brose Fahrzeugteile, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, and Hi-Lex.

In terms of application diversity, Mazda Motor held the top position, while Compagnie de Saint-Gobain and Continental stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Saint-Gobain leads the pack, followed by Continental and Aston Martin Lagonda.

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.