The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by safety concerns and autonomous vehicles, and the growing importance of technologies such as integrated brake controls (IBC) and multi-piston calipers. 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: Regenerative braking. 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

Regenerative braking is a key innovation area in automotive

Regenerative brakes reduce speed and stop a car by using electric motors rather than the more conventional friction braking systems. This type of brakes are typically found in electric and hybrid automobiles. Regenerative braking uses the energy that would otherwise be lost during braking to assist recharge the car's battery.

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 regenerative braking.

Key players in regenerative braking – 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 regenerative braking

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Robert Bosch Stiftung 165 Unlock company profile
Aisin 101 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 89 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 81 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 63 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 48 Unlock company profile
Continental 33 Unlock company profile
Renault 32 Unlock company profile
General Motors 29 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 28 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 25 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 18 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 17 Unlock company profile
Cummins 16 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Mobis 13 Unlock company profile
Ipgate 12 Unlock company profile
Kia 12 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 12 Unlock company profile
Mando 9 Unlock company profile
Tata Motors 8 Unlock company profile
Faraday & Future 7 Unlock company profile
ThyssenKrupp 6 Unlock company profile
Nuova FourB 6 Unlock company profile
Nidec 6 Unlock company profile
BYD 5 Unlock company profile
Horiba 5 Unlock company profile
Bentley Motors 5 Unlock company profile
Autoliv Nissin Brake Systems Japan 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Robert Bosch Stiftung is a key player in the regenerative braking innovation area. Bosch offers customised solutions for regenerative braking including vacuum-based and vacuum-independent regenerative braking systems. The regenerative braking systems help to lower fuel consumption in hybrid vehicles and reduce their carbon footprint. Bosch’s vacuum-independent regenerative braking systems in electrified vehicles can decrease brake dust emissions by more than 95%. Aisin, Toyota, Porsche Automobil, and Nissan are some of the other key players.

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.