The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for enhanced driving experience, fuel efficiency, and engine performance, and growing importance of technologies such as 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: Shock absorbing grille-guards. 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

Shock absorbing grille-guards is a key innovation area in automotive

A grille guard lessens the impact on the grille and guards the radiator when a vehicle collides with an animal, another vehicle, or anything else.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of shock absorbing grille-guards.

Key players in shock absorbing grille-guards – 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 shock absorbing grille-guards

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 251 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 150 Unlock company profile
Gestamp 2020 148 Unlock company profile
Nippon Steel 126 Unlock company profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 108 Unlock company profile
Aisin 106 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 98 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 90 Unlock company profile
Sungwoo Hitech 90 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 84 Unlock company profile
General Motors 80 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 68 Unlock company profile
Benteler International 65 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 63 Unlock company profile
Shape 62 Unlock company profile
Kobe Steel 53 Unlock company profile
Magna International 52 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 50 Unlock company profile
Kia 49 Unlock company profile
Denso 45 Unlock company profile
Toyoda Iron Works 44 Unlock company profile
KIRCHHOFF Automotive 35 Unlock company profile
LG 35 Unlock company profile
Burelle 35 Unlock company profile
Lotte Chemical 30 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Mobis 22 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 20 Unlock company profile
Hanwha L&C 18 Unlock company profile
Suzuki Motor 17 Unlock company profile
Multimatic 17 Unlock company profile
Renault 15 Unlock company profile
NV Bekaert 15 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 14 Unlock company profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group 12 Unlock company profile
Cosma Engineering Europe 12 Unlock company profile
Toray Industries 10 Unlock company profile
BASF 10 Unlock company profile
Continental 9 Unlock company profile
voestalpine Polynorm 9 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Heavy Industries 8 Unlock company profile
Subaru 8 Unlock company profile
UACJ 7 Unlock company profile
Valeo 7 Unlock company profile
ThyssenKrupp 7 Unlock company profile
Kyoraku 7 Unlock company profile
Asteer 7 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Zhilun Driving Technology For Electric Vehichle 7 Unlock company profile
Next.e.GO Mobile 6 Unlock company profile
Flex-N-Gate 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota is one of the leading innovators in shock absorbing grille-guards with 251 patents. The company provides shock absorbing grille-guards with different characteristics, which are used to gently envelop and support the passengers when the vehicle is in standstill mode or when it is in motion. Other companies innovating in this technology domain are LG, Ford, and Denso.

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.