Patent production and technological dynamics in global automotive industry

Scientific Coordinator: Alessandra Perri


Over the last decades, the knowledge base of the industry has experienced major changes with the consequence that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have had to expand the range of technological domains they master to stay abreast of technological advances. To do so, OEMs have not only invested in new fields but also adapted their innovation processes by promoting a “distributed innovation” model, where innovation arises from the joint contribution of a network of actors endowed with complementary specialized knowledge and operating at different stages of the value chain.

Despite these pervasive and wide-ranging changes, a systematic and dynamic mapping of the knowledge base of the largest manufacturing industry in the world is still missing.

Our research aims to fill this gap through a two-step process. In a first step, we will map the evolution of the automotive industry knowledge base by reconstructing the patent portfolios of the top 20 OEMs and 100 suppliers by sales, over a 30-year period. In a second step, the project will investigate how the evolution of the industry knowledge base has modified problem-solving strategies and innovation processes, and the role that digital technologies, as well as design and engineering tools, have played in such transition

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