The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is 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 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in automotive: tricycle steering systemsBuy 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 Foresight, 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 handing are useful technologies that are in the early stages of wider 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 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

Tricycle steering systems is a key innovation area in automotive

A tricycle steering system is the collection of components and linkages that enable a tricycle to achieve the basic goal of steering. Its main function is to fit within a reasonable gap while reducing the distance between the steering centres over the entire steering angle input range.

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 tricycle steering systems.

Key players in tricycle steering systems – 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 tricycle steering systems

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Innox 4 Unlock Company Profile
Immsi 277 Unlock Company Profile
Kymco Motors 5 Unlock Company Profile
BRP 38 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 35 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 4 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 1 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha Motor 219 Unlock Company Profile
Arcimoto 8 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 44 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hobbs 1 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 4 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 39 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 4 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 2 Unlock Company Profile
Equos Research 50 Unlock Company Profile
Future Motion 2 Unlock Company Profile
Butchers & Bicycles ApS 14 Unlock Company Profile
Future. 1 Unlock Company Profile
Triad 4 Unlock Company Profile
Tilting Motor Works 1 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 2 Unlock Company Profile
Technische Hochschule Nuernberg Georg Simon Ohm 1 Unlock Company Profile
Alpha Motor 5 Unlock Company Profile
MB Rimti ratai 2 Unlock Company Profile
Kerv Automotive 6 Unlock Company Profile
VMS Automotive 2 Unlock Company Profile
Scuter 2 Unlock Company Profile
Carver 16 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Yamaha Motor is one of the leading innovators in tricycle steering systems. Yamaha renamed its Tracer 900 GT the Niken after adding a new wheel in the front and increasing the wheelbase. Yamaha refers to this front-end linkage as its Leaning Multi-Wheel System, which consists of four parallel-operating inboard-mounted shocks, two on each wheel. Trapezoidal links are used to join the assembly at the top. Other leading companies innovating in this technology domain are Immsi, Equos Research, Honda Motor, and Ford Motor.

In terms of application diversity, Schaeffler held the top position, while Toyota Motor and Future Motion stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Butchers & Bicycles leads the pack, followed by Immsi and BRP.

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.