The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in stabilizer bar suspensions is driven by vehicle performance and handling, advancements in vehicle dynamics, and market demand for comfort and control, and growing importance of technologies such as anti-roll bars, bushings and mounts, and variable thickness bars. 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: stabilizer bar suspensions. 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 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
Stabilizer bar suspensions is a key innovation area in automotive
Stabilizer bar suspensions are a type of suspension system that helps to reduce the body roll of a vehicle during cornering by connecting the left and right wheels of a car. A stabilizer bar, also known as a sway bar, is a metal bar that is suspended between the two sides of a vehicle's suspension system. The bar transfers the weight of one side of the vehicle to the other side during cornering, which helps to reduce body roll and improve handling.
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 stabilizer bar suspensions.
Key players in stabilizer bar suspensions – 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 stabilizer bar suspensions
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
NHK Spring is one of the leading patent filers in stabilizer bar suspensions. The company’s active stabilizer bar systems use electronically controlled actuators within the stabilizer bars to actively adjust their stiffness or resistance to body roll based on real-time driving conditions, vehicle dynamics, and sensor feedback. The active stabilizer bar systems can modify the stiffness of the bars independently, varying them between stiff and soft settings or adjusting each side of the vehicle's suspension independently, allowing for more precise control over the vehicle's handling characteristics. Some other key patent filers in this space include Magna International and Benteler International.
In terms of application diversity, JFE leads the pack, while Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Steel stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Mitsubishi Steel held the top position, followed by Arcelormittal Tubular Products, Schmitz Cargobull, and NHK Spring.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.