The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for environmental regulations, emissions reduction, and fuel efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as vacuum systems and absorbents. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in automotive: adsorptive vapour recovery. 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.

300+ 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 one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, integrated multi-motor drivetrains, electric power steering (EPS), and post-collision handling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Variable compression engines, V2V distance monitoring, and turbocharger shaft bearings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and plasma-jet ignition, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Adsorptive vapour recovery is a key innovation area in automotive

Adsorptive vapour recovery involves the technique of collecting and reclaiming fuel vapor emissions emanating from vehicle fuel tank systems. This method relies on the utilization of an adsorptive substance such as activated carbon, which can adsorb and retain the fuel vapors. Subsequently, the accumulated vapors are discharged and channeled back to the engine for combustion, thereby diminishing the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment.

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 automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of adsorptive vapour recovery.

Key players in adsorptive vapour recovery – a disruptive innovation in the automotive 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 adsorptive vapour recovery

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Eaton 9 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Boshoku 17 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Paper Industries 25 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 27 Unlock Company Profile
Futaba Industrial 59 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Fuel-Tech 13 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 39 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 10 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 44 Unlock Company Profile
Donaldson 10 Unlock Company Profile
Aisan Industry 167 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 30 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 13 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 29 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 9 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 39 Unlock Company Profile
Mahle 77 Unlock Company Profile
Osaka Gas 12 Unlock Company Profile
Textron 25 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 23 Unlock Company Profile
Goldman Sachs Group 13 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 11 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 25 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 84 Unlock Company Profile
CIR – Compagnie Industriali Riunite 8 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 10 Unlock Company Profile
Westrock 13 Unlock Company Profile
Leehan 15 Unlock Company Profile
Ingevity 87 Unlock Company Profile
A. Kayser Automotive Systems 20 Unlock Company Profile
TI Fluid Systems 14 Unlock Company Profile
MANN+HUMMEL International 15 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Aisan Industry is one of the key patent filers in adsorptive vapour recovery. Aisan Industry focuses on developing or adopting advanced adsorbent materials with higher adsorption capacities and selectivity for specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These materials can improve the efficiency of vapour recovery systems. Aisan industry focuses on implementation of advanced control and monitoring systems that can adjust vapor recovery rates and parameters in real-time based on vehicle usage and environmental conditions, thereby enhancing the system's efficiency. Ford Motor and Ingevity are some of the other key patent filers in the space.

In terms of application diversity, Aisin leads the pack, while Nippon Paper and Continental stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, TI Fluid Systems held the top position, followed by The Goldman Sachs Group and Ingevity.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive

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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.