The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in silica tire compositions is driven by fuel efficiency and environmental regulations, tire rolling resistance reduction, traction and wet grip performance, and growing importance of technologies such as silica nanoparticles and silane coupling agents. 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: silica tire compositions. 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 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 Foresights, 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 handling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of 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 the 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

Silica tire compositions is a key innovation area in automotive

Silica tire compositions refer to rubber compositions for tire treads and undertreads that include silica as a reinforcing filler. These compositions, when used in tires, offer improved durability, wear resistance, braking performance, and adhesion to wet and slippery surfaces.

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 30 companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of silica tire compositions.

Key players in silica tire compositions – 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 silica tire compositions

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Bridgestone 651 Unlock Company Profile
Camfin 11 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin 411 Unlock Company Profile
Yokohama Rubber 94 Unlock Company Profile
Trinseo 152 Unlock Company Profile
Zeon 176 Unlock Company Profile
Toyo Tire 21 Unlock Company Profile
Chi Mei 20 Unlock Company Profile
Shin-Etsu Chemical 46 Unlock Company Profile
Synthos Dwory 7 15 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 78 Unlock Company Profile
JSR 356 Unlock Company Profile
Goodyear Tire & Rubber 195 Unlock Company Profile
Hankook Tire & Technology 35 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 14 Unlock Company Profile
Lanxess 88 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Kasei 155 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 104 Unlock Company Profile
Synthos 35 Unlock Company Profile
LG 618 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Chemical 50 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 28 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 35 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 51 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 141 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 492 Unlock Company Profile
Seino 19 Unlock Company Profile
JSR - OPSTAR(TM) Business 16 Unlock Company Profile
Dow 20 Unlock Company Profile
ENEOS Materials 25 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Bridgestone is one of the leading patent filers in silica tire compositions. The company manufactures a new type of tire that uses silica instead of carbon black as the reinforcing agent. Silica is a natural material that is found in sand and other rocks. It is a more environmentally friendly material than carbon black, providing some additional performance benefits. For example, tires made with silica tend to have better-wet traction than tires made with carbon black. Other key patent filers in the silica tire compositions space include LG, Sumitomo Electric Industries, and Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin.

In terms of application diversity, Exxon Mobil leads the pack, while RAG-Stiftung and Shin-Etsu Chemical stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, RAG-Stiftung held the top position, followed by Lanxess and Trinseo.

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.