The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need to enhance driving experience, safety, and emission standards, and growing importance of technologies such as sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. 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: Coolant pumps.

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

Coolant pumps is a key innovation area in automotive

The engine itself powers the water pump, also known as the coolant pump, which moves liquid coolant through the radiator and engine cooling system. It guarantees that the engine temperature is kept at a safe level while it is running.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of coolant pumps.

Key players in coolant pumps – 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 coolant pumps

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 49 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 39 Unlock company profile
General Motors 22 Unlock company profile
Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group 22 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 20 Unlock company profile
Denso 19 Unlock company profile
Kia 18 Unlock company profile
LG 14 Unlock company profile
Tenneco 11 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 10 Unlock company profile
Suzuki Motor 9 Unlock company profile
Doosan Infracore 9 Unlock company profile
AB Volvo 8 Unlock company profile
Yanmar Holdings 7 Unlock company profile
Sanden Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
China FAW Group 5 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

One of the top companies for the automobile industry's coolant pumps patent filings is Toyota Motor with 49 patents. The company’s current invention offers a coolant circulation system for an internal combustion engine placed on a vehicle. It has a controller, a liquid temperature sensor, a motor-driven pump, and a water jacket. When the variation in coolant temperature is equal to or less than the predefined value, the controller conducts the circulation stop control, variation determination control, and circulation stop control. Hyundai Motor Group and General Motors are among other significant patent filers in the innovation area.

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


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.