The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by enhanced engine efficiency and strict government regulations on emissions, and the growing importance of technologies such as machine learning and the 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 camshaft manufacturing.

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 camshaft manufacturing is a key innovation area in automotive

A camshaft is a mechanical device used in an internal combustion engine to perform the opening and closing action of the inlet and exhaust valve at the right time by using lobes (called cams). The basic function of a camshaft is to convert rotatory motion into linear motion and achieves the motion either independently or by the engine crankshaft.

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 60 companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vehicle camshaft manufacturing.

Key players in vehicle camshaft manufacturing – 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 camshaft manufacturing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nippon Steel 1216 Unlock company profile
Benteler International 88 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 79 Unlock company profile
Kobe Steel 66 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 46 Unlock company profile
Gestamp 2020 46 Unlock company profile
Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group 44 Unlock company profile
Magna International 43 Unlock company profile
Aisin 43 Unlock company profile
General Motors 42 Unlock company profile
POSCO Holdings 39 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 36 Unlock company profile
Toyoda Iron Works 29 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 28 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 27 Unlock company profile
ThyssenKrupp 27 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 25 Unlock company profile
Chery Automobile 22 Unlock company profile
Jiangxi Jiangling Chassis 21 Unlock company profile
China FAW Group 20 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 20 Unlock company profile
Dongfeng Motor 18 Unlock company profile
Tenneco 15 Unlock company profile
JAC Motors 15 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Steel Mfg 15 Unlock company profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group 13 Unlock company profile
Toyota Boshoku 13 Unlock company profile
Aditya Birla Management 13 Unlock company profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 13 Unlock company profile
Kia 12 Unlock company profile
Johnson Controls International 12 Unlock company profile
Schaeffler 12 Unlock company profile
Voestalpine 12 Unlock company profile
Cosma Engineering Europe 12 Unlock company profile
Suzuki Motor 10 Unlock company profile
Kiekert 10 Unlock company profile
Yorozu 9 Unlock company profile
Beijing Automotive Group 8 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 8 Unlock company profile
Tata Motors 8 Unlock company profile
Shape 8 Unlock company profile
FAW-Volkswagen Automobile 7 Unlock company profile
H-One 7 Unlock company profile
Nuova FourB 7 Unlock company profile
Kyung Chang Industrial 7 Unlock company profile
C. Rob. Hammerstein 7 Unlock company profile
Adient 7 Unlock company profile
Johnson Controls Metals & Mechanisms & Co 7 Unlock company profile
SAIC Motor 6 Unlock company profile
Proma 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nippon Steel is a key player in the vehicle camshaft manufacturing innovation area. Nippon Steel’s vehicle camshaft is durable and easy to maintain and provides smooth operation even at high speed. The camshaft design governs the engine’s power, efficiency, mileage, and emissions. Nippon’s single camshaft can be used for many cylinders. Toyota, Benteler International, Honda, Anhui Jianghuai Automobile, Aisin, and Magna International 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.


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.