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.
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
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.