The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation, with activity being driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and workplace safety, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. 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: work vehicle cruise control. Buy the report here.

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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

Work vehicle cruise control is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Work vehicle cruise control refers to a system or method that enables the automated control of a work vehicle's speed during operation. It employs various components such as hydraulic pumps, motors, valves, and controllers to regulate the driving speed and ensure smooth operation while operating attached work devices.

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 construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of work vehicle cruise control.

Key players in work vehicle cruise control – 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 work vehicle cruise control

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Komatsu 218 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 95 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 53 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 45 Unlock Company Profile
Eaton 35 Unlock Company Profile
CNH Industrial 28 Unlock Company Profile
Liebherr-International 25 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 25 Unlock Company Profile
Dana 19 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan 17 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan Infracore 15 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 13 Unlock Company Profile
Deere 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Heavy Industries 10 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 8 Unlock Company Profile
Toro 5 Unlock Company Profile
Iwabuchi 4 Unlock Company Profile
Takeuchi Mfg. 4 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha 4 Unlock Company Profile
Parker Hannifin 2 Unlock Company Profile
Nott 2 Unlock Company Profile
Yanmar (Tokyo Office) 2 Unlock Company Profile
YANMAR POWER TECHNOLOGY 2 Unlock Company Profile
HCC 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hunan Sany Road Machinery 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the leading patent filers in work vehicle cruise control include Volvo’s subsidiary, Volvo Construction Equipment (CE), a manufacturer and provider of construction equipment. Key innovations of Volvo CE include the development of a drive control system for construction machinery, which prevents a sudden slowdown of driving speed to reduce the shock felt by a driver when compound-operating two-way driving and a work device in an excavator. Further Volvo CE innovations include a driving control device for construction machines that ensures operability at the beginning of driving, with control valves and a driving speed selection valve for speed control.

In terms of application diversity, HCC is the leading innovator in the development of work vehicle cruise control systems, while Nott and Eaton stand in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Eaton held the top position, followed by Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Hitachi.

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.

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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.