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. 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 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

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 219 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 162 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 145 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 139 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 138 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 124 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 116 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec 78 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 66 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 59 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 55 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 50 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 46 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 43 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 41 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 37 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 35 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 35 Unlock Company Profile
Rolls-Royce Holdings 35 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 33 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 28 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 27 Unlock Company Profile
Dana 24 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 24 Unlock Company Profile
LG 23 Unlock Company Profile
Daikin Industries 23 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 22 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems 22 Unlock Company Profile
Clean Wave Technologies 22 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 19 Unlock Company Profile
Fujitsu General 19 Unlock Company Profile
Wobben Properties 19 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 18 Unlock Company Profile
Lucid Group 17 Unlock Company Profile
Mahle 17 Unlock Company Profile
Zero E Technologies 17 Unlock Company Profile
IHI 16 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan 16 Unlock Company Profile
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings 15 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 15 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 15 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis 14 Unlock Company Profile
Mavel 14 Unlock Company Profile
Integral Powertrain 14 Unlock Company Profile
Magna Powertrain 13 Unlock Company Profile
CPM Compact Power Motors 13 Unlock Company Profile
Halliburton 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Heavy Industries 12 Unlock Company Profile
Tesla 11 Unlock Company Profile
NTT 11 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota 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 and Aisin. 

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.