The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for improving the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, reduction in harmful gas emissions, and enhanced driving experience and growing importance of technologies such as hybrid technologies and fuel injections. 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: Engine anti-knock agents.
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 engine anti-knock agents in the automotive industry
Engine anti-knock agents is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
An anti-knock agent is a gasoline additive that increases the temperature and pressure at which auto-ignition occurs. It helps to reduce engine knocking and raising the octane rating of the fuel. Tetraethyl lead (TEL) is the most used anti-knocking agent for gasoline.
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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of engine anti-knock agents.
Key players in engine anti-knock agents – 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 anti-knock agents
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Ford Motor is one of the top patent filers for engine anti-knock agents with 219 patent filings. Ford’s recent innovations relate to an optimised fuel management system to be used with spark ignition gasoline engines, in which an anti-knock agent is directly injected into the engine along with fuel. Hyundai Motor, Toyota Motor, and General Motors are some of the other patent filers for anti-knock engine agents.
To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.