The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by IT operations, data strategy, customer experience management, distributed ecosystems, and advances in computing and connectivity, and growing importance of technologies such as 5G and edge computing. 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 Cloud in Automotive: Manufacturability analysis.

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, EV discharge prediction, manufacturability analysis, and AI-assisted CAD are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle head up displays (HUDs), gesture-sensing AR/VR interfaces, and instrument cluster dashboard are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are HUD dashboards and remote trip monitoring, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for cloud in the automotive industry

Manufacturability analysis is a key innovation area in cloud

Design for Manufacturability (DfM) analysis explains opportunities for decreasing costs, enhancing manufacturability, and rising speed to market. DFM involves the designing or engineering of an object during the product design stage to reduce manufacturing costs thereby allowing a manufacturer to identify and prevent mistakes or discrepancies.

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 manufacturability analysis.

Key players in manufacturability analysis – 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 manufacturability analysis

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
KLA 31 Unlock company profile
Synopsys 24 Unlock company profile
Rpx 23 Unlock company profile
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 20 Unlock company profile
TELA INNOVATIONS 19 Unlock company profile
EOS 15 Unlock company profile
Global Foundries 14 Unlock company profile
TactoTek 12 Unlock company profile
Xerox Holdings 10 Unlock company profile
Nippon Steel 9 Unlock company profile
Renesas Electronics 8 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 8 Unlock company profile
Infineon Technologies 8 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 7 Unlock company profile
Siemens 7 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 7 Unlock company profile
Ricoh 6 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 6 Unlock company profile
Kobe Steel 5 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

KLA is a key player in the manufacturability analysis innovation area. It has introduced the Frontline Cloud Services, a software solution that quickens DFM analysis and time-to-market (TTM) for complex printed circuit boards (PCBs). Advanced technologies, such as 5G and miniLED, call for PCBs with more complex designs that is time-consuming. The new cloud-based SaaS offering is the first to address this challenge by moving DFM analysis to the cloud, which significantly decreases IT bottlenecks and the amount of time required to run analyses. Rpx, Synopsys, Tela Innovations, EOS, and Taco Tek are the other major key players. 

To further understand how cloud is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.


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.