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The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for greater energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and long-term sustainability, and growing importance of technologies such as electrification, connected and autonomous vehicles. 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 transport marine vessels. Buy the report here.

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 transport marine vessels is a key innovation area in automotive

A ship built to transport liquified petroleum gas (LPG), liquified natural gas (LNG), compressed natural gas (CNG), or liquefied chemical gases in bulk is referred to as a gas carrier, gas tanker, LPG carrier, or LPG tanker. These ships transport semi-pressurised and semi-refrigerated gases and have the flexibility to load or discharge at both pressurised storage facilities and refrigerated storage facilities.

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 fuel transport marine vessels.

Key players in fuel transport marine vessels – 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 transport marine vessels

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Engie 719 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Development Bank 403 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 315 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings 257 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 56 Unlock Company Profile
AFC Mercury 33 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Gas 32 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 21 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 21 Unlock Company Profile
Wartsila 21 Unlock Company Profile
Kobe Steel 17 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 17 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 17 Unlock Company Profile
Alstom 16 Unlock Company Profile
LNT Marine 15 Unlock Company Profile
Woodside Energy Group 13 Unlock Company Profile
Altair Engineering 12 Unlock Company Profile
Saipem 12 Unlock Company Profile
IC Technologies 9 Unlock Company Profile
General Dynamics 9 Unlock Company Profile
TGE Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsui E&S Holdings 9 Unlock Company Profile
TechnipFMC 9 Unlock Company Profile
Japan Marine United 8 Unlock Company Profile
GVA Consultants 8 Unlock Company Profile
Technip Energies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Engie 8 Unlock Company Profile
Daewoong 6 Unlock Company Profile
Unison eTech 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Engie, with 719 patents, is one of the top companies to file for fuel transport marine vessels patents. LNG is anticipated to play a significant role as an alternative fuel for the maritime sector as international regulations on ship emissions become stricter. Engie plans to support the development of LNG as a marine fuel to promote an environmentally friendly maritime industry. Linde, Shell, and Alstom 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.

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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.