The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in torque vectoring is driven by improved vehicle dynamics, enhanced traction, stability control, efficiency and fuel economy, and growing importance of technologies such as torque vectoring control algorithms, differential mechanisms, and brake-based torque vectoring. 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: torque vectoring. 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

Torque vectoring is a key innovation area in automotive

Torque vectoring serves as a vehicle technology that manages how torque is allocated among various wheels or axles, resulting in finer handling, increased stability, and superior traction.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of torque vectoring.

Key players in torque vectoring – 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 torque vectoring

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
CLAAS 6 Unlock Company Profile
Dana 36 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 27 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 50 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 15 Unlock Company Profile
Melrose Industries 17 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Motors 7 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 153 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 21 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 15 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 20 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 12 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 26 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 13 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 81 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 7 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan Infracore 6 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 63 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 31 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 30 Unlock Company Profile
JTEKT 19 Unlock Company Profile
Yanmar 7 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 19 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 18 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 34 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 33 Unlock Company Profile
Baoding Innovation Great Wall Asset Management 7 Unlock Company Profile
Land Rover UK 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Motor is one of the leading patent filers in torque vectoring. The company's expertise in hybrid and electric vehicles involves innovations in torque vectoring systems that utilize electric motors for precise control over torque distribution among wheels, enhancing handling and stability. Toyota’s advanced control algorithms and software to optimize torque distribution are based on vehicle dynamics, driver inputs, and road conditions for ensuring better handling and stability. Some other key patent filers in this space include Honda Motor and Porsche Automobil.

In terms of application diversity, Hyundai Motor leads the pack, while Kia and Tata Motors stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Tata Motors held the top position, followed by Melrose and Honda Motor.

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.