The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by safety, emission standards, fuel efficiency, and engine performance, and growing importance of technologies such as sensors, artificial intelligence and others. 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 Environmental sustainability in Automotive: Catalytic diesel particulate filters

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, EV discharge prediction, fuel cell ion exchange membranes, and hydrogen ICE fuel tanks are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. V2G smart metering, silicon-air batteries, and zeolites for exhaust filtering are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are HEV propulsion systems and wind-powered vehicles, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the automotive industry 

Catalytic diesel particulate filters is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability 

A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is a tool used to filter diesel particulate matter or soot out of a diesel engine's exhaust gas.  

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 catalytic diesel particulate filters. 

Key players in catalytic diesel particulate filters – 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 catalytic diesel particulate filters

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 72 Unlock company profile
Aisin 58 Unlock company profile
NGK Insulators 51 Unlock company profile
Johnson Matthey 50 Unlock company profile
BASF 35 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 25 Unlock company profile
IBIDEN 18 Unlock company profile
Tata Motors 12 Unlock company profile
Mitsui Mining & Smelting 10 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 9 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Osaka Cement 8 Unlock company profile
Denso 8 Unlock company profile
Yanmar Holdings 7 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

One of the top companies for the automobile industry's catalytic diesel particulate filters patent filings is Toyota. The corporation is primarily concerned with the design, production and marketing of catalytic diesel particulate filter equipment. Toyota’s DPF traps particulate matter, which is oxidised under the high catalyst temperature conditions and filter is purified. Aisin and Johnson Matthey are other patent filers in the innovation area.

To further understand how environmental sustainability is 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.