The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation, with activity driven by an increased focus on sustainability and workplace safety, and the growing importance of technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). In the last three years alone, there have been over 425,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in construction: adaptive road milling rollers. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

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.

80+ innovations will shape the construction industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the construction industry using innovation intensity models built on over 232,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, robotic excavators, self-cleaning toilets, and smart waterproofing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Sensor-integrated doors, eco-friendly HVACs, and automated slurry-blast tools are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is work vehicle cruise control, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the construction industry

Adaptive road milling rollers is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Adaptive road milling rollers are construction equipment containing intelligent control systems that continuously monitor parameters such as milling depth, temperature, and surface texture in order to autonomously optimize the milling process in real-time. Sensors provide feedback that enables the roller to adapt its speed, vibration frequency, positioning and other variables to achieve precise milling depths, straight pathway lines between passes, and uniform surfaces. The automated adaptive functionality compensates for changing conditions and improves precision, efficiency and quality compared to standard milling machines.

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 construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of adaptive road milling rollers.

Key players in adaptive road milling rollers – a disruptive innovation in the construction 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 adaptive road milling rollers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Deere 1290 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 481 Unlock Company Profile
Fayat 238 Unlock Company Profile
Astec Industries 77 Unlock Company Profile
Anglo American 38 Unlock Company Profile
INDUS 32 Unlock Company Profile
ChampionX 28 Unlock Company Profile
Bekaert 24 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 16 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 14 Unlock Company Profile
Epiroc 10 Unlock Company Profile
ASPHALT ZIPPER 10 Unlock Company Profile
Vermeer 9 Unlock Company Profile
SKS Welding Systems 9 Unlock Company Profile
Liebherr-International 8 Unlock Company Profile
Bouygues 8 Unlock Company Profile
J C Bamford Excavators 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec-Shimpo 8 Unlock Company Profile
Simex 7 Unlock Company Profile
Atlaspco 7 Unlock Company Profile
Dynapac (China) Compaction & Paving Equipment 7 Unlock Company Profile
Coneqtec 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sollami 6 Unlock Company Profile
Kennametal 6 Unlock Company Profile
Vermeer Manufacturing 6 Unlock Company Profile
MOBA Mobile Automation 4 Unlock Company Profile
Pfannenberg Asia Pacific 4 Unlock Company Profile
Trane Technologies 3 Unlock Company Profile
Sany Group 3 Unlock Company Profile
McAnany Construction 2 Unlock Company Profile
XCMG Construction Machinery 2 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Expressway 1 Unlock Company Profile
Richter 1 Unlock Company Profile
Anshan SenYuan Road and Bridge 1 Unlock Company Profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 1 Unlock Company Profile
Donaldson & Burkinshaw 1 Unlock Company Profile
Husqvarna 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

One of the leading patent filers in adaptive road milling rollers is Astec Industries’ subsidiary, Roadtec, a manufacturer of pavers, material transfer vehicles, cold planers, and reclaimers for asphalt road builders. Key Roadtec innovations include the development of a milling machine with a primary drum drive assembly, a cutter drum, and a belt lift assembly for selectively disengaging the drive belt from the sheave of the drive shaft. The primary drum drive assembly includes a drive belt that cooperates with the sheave on the drive shaft for the cutter drum to rotate the cutter drum, while a belt lift assembly may be operated to selectively disengage the drive belt from the sheave of the drive shaft for the cutter drum. Further Roadtec patents include a cold in-place recycling (CIR) train that includes a milling machine for removing asphalt paving material from the road and an asphalt cement supply tank for dispensing asphalt cement.

In terms of application diversity, leading companies in the space include Vermeer Manufacturing, Komatsu and Sollami. By means of geographic reach, leading innovators in the development of adaptive road milling rollers include Anglo American, a mining company, and John Deere, a manufacturer and distributor of construction, earthmoving and material handling equipment.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Construction.

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.