The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the rise in autonomous vehicles and the need for enhanced safety and comfort, and growing importance of technologies such as electrohydraulic actuators and electro hydrostatic actuators. 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: Engine purge actuators.

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, resilient spoke wheels, auto-transmission lubrication circuits, and ignition switching engines are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Engine purge actuators, electro-dynamic braking, and adsorptive vapour recovery system estimation are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are collision avoidance braking control system and direct injection type engines, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Engine purge actuators is a key innovation area in automotive

An engine purge actuator is an emissions control component that allows the engine intake vacuum to take the exact amount of fuel vapours from the evaporative emission control canister into the engine intake manifold.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of engine purge actuators.

Key players in engine purge actuators – 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 engine purge actuators

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Aisan Industry 233 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 147 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 141 Unlock company profile
Denso 84 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 81 Unlock company profile
Kia 54 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 47 Unlock company profile
Continental 41 Unlock company profile
General Motors 23 Unlock company profile
Eaton 18 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 14 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Motors 14 Unlock company profile
Textron 14 Unlock company profile
Yamaha Motor 11 Unlock company profile
Faurecia 9 Unlock company profile
Burelle 9 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 9 Unlock company profile
Rheinmetall 8 Unlock company profile
Stellantis 8 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 7 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 6 Unlock company profile
Mahle 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Aisan Industry is a key player in the engine purge actuators innovation area with 233 patents filed. The company’s engine purge actuator is controlled either by an electronic control unit or electronic control module (ECU/ECM) or a mechanical governor and it regulates the amount of fuel injected into the engine. Toyota Motor, Hyundai Motor and Ford Motor are some of the other key players.

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.