The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need to detect and locate leaks. 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: Fuel leakage detectors.

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

Fuel leakage detectors is a key innovation area in automotive

Fuel oil leak detection systems are used to detect fuel oil, kerosene, and diesel leaks. Acoustic emission detectors, fibre optic sensors, negative pressure detectors, ultrasonic technologies, and infrared thermographs are examples of common tools used. Software-based techniques employ computer software programmes to continuously track pressure, temperature, and flow rate data to find pipeline leaks.

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 fuel leakage detectors.

Key players in fuel leakage detectors – 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 fuel leakage detectors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Continental 105 Unlock company profile
Denso 77 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 76 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 66 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 57 Unlock company profile
Rolls-Royce Holdings 45 Unlock company profile
General Motors 37 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 29 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 27 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 16 Unlock company profile
Caterpillar 12 Unlock company profile
Isuzu Motors 9 Unlock company profile
Marelli Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 7 Unlock company profile
Power Solutions International 6 Unlock company profile
Kia 6 Unlock company profile
Renault 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Continental, with 105 patents, is one of the top companies to file for fuel leakage detectors patents. The company provides a simple, dependable, cost-effective method of detecting a leak in the gas evaporation device at any time, regardless of whether the engine is running or in a stationary state. Denso, Toyota, and Kia are a few other notable patent filers in the same industry.

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.