The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for electrification, safety and comfort, and growing importance of technologies such as cloud computing and Internet of Things. 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: Vehicle auxiliary drives. 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

Vehicle auxiliary drives is a key innovation area in automotive

The vehicle auxiliary drive belt works with the idlers, tensioners, and pulleys within the accessory drive belt system. It comprises a long rubber belt that pushes power to engine components through a system of pulleys that are driven by the main crankshaft pulley. These engine components include the alternator, the aircon compressor, the power steering pump, and sometimes the water pump.

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 vehicle auxiliary drives.

Key players in vehicle auxiliary drives – 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 vehicle auxiliary drives

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Porsche Automobil Holding 33 Unlock company profile
Schaeffler 21 Unlock company profile
REV Group 16 Unlock company profile
Cummins 11 Unlock company profile
General Motors 11 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 9 Unlock company profile
Twin Disc 8 Unlock company profile
Kubota 8 Unlock company profile
Suzuki Motor 8 Unlock company profile
Liebherr-International 8 Unlock company profile
Dayco IP Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Neander Motors 7 Unlock company profile
Power Solutions International 7 Unlock company profile
Parker Hannifin 6 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 6 Unlock company profile
Mahle 6 Unlock company profile
TEAM Industries 5 Unlock company profile
Toro Company 5 Unlock company profile
AB Volvo 5 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 5 Unlock company profile
Fayat 5 Unlock company profile
Bi-Phase Technologies 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nissan is a key player in the vehicle auxiliary drives innovation area. Nissan engages in the production of a v-ribbed belt or vehicle auxiliary drives belt, which keeps the engine accessories running smoothly and efficiently.  Nissan’s vehicle auxiliary drive belt can protect the vehicle from overloading caused by slipping of the belt over a pulley and can absorb shock and damp vibration. Hyundai, Hitachi, IHI, and Mercedes Benz are some of the other key players.

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.