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The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by factors such as safety, emission standards, reliability, and ride comfort, and growing importance of technologies such as air brakes, electrification, 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: Roll resistance tyre treads. 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

Roll resistance tyre treads is a key innovation area in automotive

The energy that a vehicle must transfer to tyres to keep moving over a surface at a constant speed is known as tyre rolling resistance. The phenomenon known as hysteresis is the primary cause of rolling resistance.

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of roll resistance tyre treads.

Key players in roll resistance tyre treads – 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 roll resistance tyre treads

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin 732 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 730 Unlock Company Profile
Bridgestone 682 Unlock Company Profile
Yokohama Rubber 550 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 242 Unlock Company Profile
Goodyear Tire & Rubber 198 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 168 Unlock Company Profile
JSR 144 Unlock Company Profile
Amyris 141 Unlock Company Profile
LG 131 Unlock Company Profile
Lanxess 121 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 99 Unlock Company Profile
Hankook Tire & Technology 75 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 70 Unlock Company Profile
Seino Holdings 54 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 53 Unlock Company Profile
Camfin 48 Unlock Company Profile
Toyo Tire 43 Unlock Company Profile
Kumho Tire 35 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 33 Unlock Company Profile
Zeon 21 Unlock Company Profile
Trinseo 20 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Zeon 19 Unlock Company Profile
Apollo Tyres 18 Unlock Company Profile
Shin-Etsu Chemical 16 Unlock Company Profile
Zhongce Rubber Group 16 Unlock Company Profile
Otsuka Holdings 15 Unlock Company Profile
ENEOS Holdings 14 Unlock Company Profile
Chi Mei 12 Unlock Company Profile
Kolon 11 Unlock Company Profile
Cheng Shin Rubber Industry 11 Unlock Company Profile
Triangle Tyre 11 Unlock Company Profile
Eastman Chemical 10 Unlock Company Profile
Kraton 10 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical 7 Unlock Company Profile
Shandong Linglong Tire 7 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangsu Hongdou Industry 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Paper Industries 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nokian Tyres 6 Unlock Company Profile
Societe De Technologie Michelin 6 Unlock Company Profile
Birla Carbon USA 5 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Yokohama Rubber is one of the leading innovators in roll resistance tyre treads with 550 patents. It has developed a new, non-directional tread pattern that provides great traction in both forward and reverse modes, while improving efficiency. Some other key patent filers in the innovation area include Sumitomo Electric Industries, Bridgestone, Continental, and Goodyear Tire & Rubber.

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.