The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by an increased focus on driver and passenger safety and comfort, and growing importance of technologies such as electrification, and 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: Heat exchanger controllers. Buy the report here.

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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

Heat exchanger controllers is a key innovation area in automotive

Heat exchanger systems are frequently used in vehicles as they can withstand a wide range of temperatures and pressures. Temperature control of the outlet fluid is crucial because the main function of a heat exchanger system is to transfer heat from a hot fluid to a cooler fluid.

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 40 companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of heat exchanger controllers.

Key players in heat exchanger controllers – 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 heat exchanger controllers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Motor Group 76 Unlock Company Profile
Dana 36 Unlock Company Profile
Mahle 34 Unlock Company Profile
Hanon Systems 29 Unlock Company Profile
LG 27 Unlock Company Profile
Modine Manufacturing 27 Unlock Company Profile
Haldor Topsoe Holding 26 Unlock Company Profile
Saipem 17 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Sanhua Intelligent Controls 15 Unlock Company Profile
ARVOS Group (formerly Alstom Steam Auxiliary Components business) 15 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 13 Unlock Company Profile
TechnipFMC 13 Unlock Company Profile
KNM Group Bhd 12 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 12 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 12 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 10 Unlock Company Profile
Alfa Laval 9 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 9 Unlock Company Profile
Investment Latour 9 Unlock Company Profile
Rheinmetall 9 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 9 Unlock Company Profile
Zodiac Pool Systems 8 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 8 Unlock Company Profile
MANN+HUMMEL International 8 Unlock Company Profile
Novanta 7 Unlock Company Profile
UFI Filters 7 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 7 Unlock Company Profile
Korens 7 Unlock Company Profile
Inzi Controls 7 Unlock Company Profile
Chevron Phillips Chemical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 6 Unlock Company Profile
Salzgitter 6 Unlock Company Profile
Chiyoda 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 6 Unlock Company Profile
Hettich andreas 6 Unlock Company Profile
Gigabyte Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 5 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hs Marston Aerospace 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hengst 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hyundai, with 76 patents, is one of the leading innovators in heat exchanger controllers. The company has developed a cladding made from aluminium-silicon alloy with a brazing sheet that provides the alloy with the thin walls required for use in automobile heat exchangers as well as desirable characteristics such as high strength, corrosion resistance, and formability. Other companies innovating in this technology domain are Dana, Hanon Systems, and Mahle.

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.