Is using Technological Cycle Time (TCT) an acceptable way to evaluate the vitality of an industry? If a firm was looking into expanding their core R&D competencies would an industry with a faster growth rate attract them?
Rapid growth in an industry is like a forrest full of deer. Easy hunting and big rewards. On the other hand, stagnation can occur within a sector when serious technological hurdles start to slow the pace of development. In that situation, technological breakthroughs are needed in order to pave the way for continued growth (Kayal, 1999).
According to Kayal’s theories and observations regarding technological progress in the superconductor and semiconductor fields, looking at the TCT for an industrial sector can give you an idea about the pace of technological development taking place. TCT of several IPCs is shown (thin colored lines) below. The overall range is generally between 5-8. All the IPC’s closely associated with autonomous vehicles remain considerably lower than the average for the entire USPTO (dashed black line) which has an overall range of about 7.5-10. Particularly, the IPCs related to ‘steering controls’, ‘2D position control’, and ‘anti-collision systems’ have seen encouraging trend shifts since 2009.
Kayal, a. (1999). Measuring the Pace of Technological Progress Implications for Technological Forecasting. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 60(3), 237–245. doi:10.1016/S0040-1625(98)00030-4