The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for road safety, and increasing focus on driver and passenger safety, and growing importance of technologies such as suspension technologies and artificial intelligence. 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: Suspension springs. 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
Suspension springs is a key innovation area in automotive
Suspension springs are the link between the wheels and the car's body. Their main function is to make up for uneven road surfaces and guarantee extremely comfortable rides.
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 suspension springs.
Key players in suspension springs – 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 suspension springs
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
KYB is one of the leading innovators in suspension springs with 104 patents. Lift kits for the Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Wrangler JK, and FJ Cruiser will be the first products in the new KYB JAOS line. These suspension lift kits offer 14 position damping and a lift of up to 2in. Each shock and strut made by KYB has a dial that can be adjusted at the base to offer 14 different settings for compression and rebound. The user can manually adjust the suspension for vehicle loads, larger tires and wheels, and different road conditions using the 14 settings. Two shocks or struts, two coil springs, and other installation products are included in each kit. Other companies innovating in this technology domain are Hitachi, Toyota, and Nissan.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.