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 tensioners. 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 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.