The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for better fuel economy and speed efficiency, 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: Throttle control mechanism. 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

Throttle control mechanism is a key innovation area in automotive

The throttle is the control the driver uses to manage power in a motor vehicle and is also referred to as the accelerator or gas pedal. It controls the engine’s power by balancing the amount of fuel or air that enters an internal combustion engine, or the amount of electricity delivered by electric motors.

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 throttle control mechanism.

Key players in throttle control mechanism – 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 throttle control mechanism

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 330 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 223 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 135 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 96 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 94 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 71 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 65 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 50 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha Motor 47 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 43 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 34 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 30 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 28 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 25 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 21 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 19 Unlock Company Profile
CNH Industrial 16 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 16 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 13 Unlock Company Profile
Keihin 12 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 11 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 10 Unlock Company Profile
Mikuni 9 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 8 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 8 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 8 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Motors 8 Unlock Company Profile
Yanmar Holdings 7 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 6 Unlock Company Profile
PACCAR 6 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 6 Unlock Company Profile
BRP 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota is one of the leading innovators in throttle control mechanism with 330 patents. Toyota’s throttle response controller is a plug-and-play upgrade that controls the amount of fuel injected into the engine based on how far down the accelerator pedal is pressed. It enhances acceleration and makes the gas pedal more sensitive. The pedal also acts as a ramp-up signal, meaning that even if one quickly presses the accelerator all the way to the floor, the pedal won't immediately send a 100% throttle signal. Other companies innovating in this technology domain are Hyundai, Honda, 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.