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: Tricycle steering systems 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 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

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 10+ 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 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 tricycle steering systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Immsi 229 Unlock company profile
Yamaha Motor 186 Unlock company profile
BRP 38 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 37 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 32 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 31 Unlock company profile
Carver 15 Unlock company profile
Butchers & Bicycles 15 Unlock company profile
Alpha Motor 7 Unlock company profile
Kerv Automotive 6 Unlock company profile
Arcimoto 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Yamaha is one of the leading innovators in tricycle steering systems with 186 patents. 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 companies innovating in this technology domain are BRP, Toyota, and Arcimoto.

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.