The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for better road safety 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: Heater-integrated de-icing windows. 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

Heater-integrated de-icing windows is a key innovation area in automotive

A heated windshield provides better visibility and removes ice and condensation from the windshield. In addition, it eliminates the need for operating heaters or air conditioners to clear the windshield, thereby saving fuel and lowering noise levels by doing away with the standard blowers.

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 heater-integrated de-icing windows.

Key players in heater-integrated de-icing windows – 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 heater-integrated de-icing windows

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 1279 Unlock Company Profile
LG 220 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Sheet Glass 217 Unlock Company Profile
AGC 129 Unlock Company Profile
PPG Industries 76 Unlock Company Profile
Dai Nippon Printing 53 Unlock Company Profile
AGC Glass Europe 43 Unlock Company Profile
Central Glass 36 Unlock Company Profile
Few Fahrzeugelektrikwerk 33 Unlock Company Profile
Vitro SAB de CV 31 Unlock Company Profile
Nitto Denko 28 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 27 Unlock Company Profile
Strip Tinning 26 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 23 Unlock Company Profile
EXATEC 23 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 22 Unlock Company Profile
Gebr Knauf 21 Unlock Company Profile
Spectrum Brands Holdings 20 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 19 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 18 Unlock Company Profile
Align Technology 17 Unlock Company Profile
Philip Morris International 17 Unlock Company Profile
H.E.F. 17 Unlock Company Profile
J.W. Speaker 16 Unlock Company Profile
Nifco 15 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 13 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm Holdings 13 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 12 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 12 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 11 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 11 Unlock Company Profile
KGIC Merger 11 Unlock Company Profile
Morphy Richards 11 Unlock Company Profile
Samvardhana Motherson International 10 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 10 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 9 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 9 Unlock Company Profile
Wuxi Graphene Film 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hi-Lex 8 Unlock Company Profile
Altria Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 7 Unlock Company Profile
Corning 7 Unlock Company Profile
Whirlpool 7 Unlock Company Profile
Webasto 7 Unlock Company Profile
PolyIC 7 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 6 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 6 Unlock Company Profile
Paru 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, with 1,279 patents, is one of the top companies to file for heater-integrated de-icing windows patents. The company provides heater-integrated glass windows for passenger cars, which offer the appropriate interior temperature. These glass windows assist in regulating the cabin's temperature and air quality in addition to lowering driver fatigue and raising overall road safety. Valeo, Webasto, 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.

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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.