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, and 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: Telescopic shafts. 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

Telescopic shafts is a key innovation area in automotive

A telescopic shaft is made up of an inner shaft portion and an outer part that takes the shape of a sleeve. The inner part enters the outer part's bore in an adjustable manner in the direction of the shared longitudinal axis.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of telescopic shafts.

Key players in telescopic shafts – 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 telescopic shafts

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
JTEKT 107 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 92 Unlock Company Profile
Dana 62 Unlock Company Profile
JMV 17 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 16 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
Nexteer Automotive Group 14 Unlock Company Profile
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings 12 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 12 Unlock Company Profile
Nitta 12 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 11 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 9 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 9 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 8 Unlock Company Profile
Moog 7 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 6 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 6 Unlock Company Profile
Rolls-Royce Holdings 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

JTEKT is one of the leading innovators in telescopic shafts with 107 patents. JTEKT CORPORATION created a lightweight and compact motorised rake tilt and telescopic steering column, which acts as a driver personalisation system. It recognises the driver and positions the steering wheel for best driving comfort. A single switch on the motorised telescopic shaft enables the driver to comfortably adjust the steering wheel's position up and down, and back and forth (telescopic). Other companies innovating in this technology domain are KYB, Toyota, and Dana.

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.