The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by adoption of electric vehicles, connectivity, smart systems, autonomous driving, higher efficient cooling systems and growing importance of technologies such as thermal management technologies. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.2 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Automotive: Closed-circuit liquid cooling.
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 stabilising 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.
290+ 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 619,000 patents, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, eccentric crankshaft gears, retarder brake system, and closed-circuit liquid cooling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Bio-fuel ICEs, electromagnetic valve actuators, and road friction estimation are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are tyre bead fillers and vehicle turbochargers, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry
Closed-circuit liquid cooling is a key innovation area in automotive
Process fluid is pumped through coils inside a closed-circuit cooler. A water distribution system cascades water over the coil's tubes, evaporating it to remove heat from the process loop. Air is forced or drawn across the coils, stirring the water as it falls and enhancing the heat transfer.
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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of closed-circuit liquid cooling.
Key players in closed-circuit liquid cooling – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to closed-circuit liquid cooling
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Toyota Motor is engaged in the development, manufacture, and trading of closed-circuit liquid cooling systems. The company currently holds 219 filed patents in the segment. Other key patent filers in closed-circuit liquid cooling systems are Honda Motor and Aisin.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.