The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by factors such as auto-ignition properties of the fuel, fuel concentration, and residual rate, 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: Homogeneous charge compression ignition engines.
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
Homogeneous charge compression ignition engines is a key innovation area in automotive
Homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) involves the thorough mixing of the fuel and oxidiser, which is then compressed to the point of auto-ignition. The resulting exothermic reaction, like other types of combustion, releases energy that can be converted into work and heat in an engine.
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 homogeneous charge compression ignition engines.
Key players in homogeneous charge compression ignition engines – 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 homogeneous charge compression ignition engines
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Mazda Motor||299||Unlock company profile|
|General Motors||219||Unlock company profile|
|Toyota Motor||112||Unlock company profile|
|Ford Motor||94||Unlock company profile|
|BorgWarner||33||Unlock company profile|
|Honda Motor||27||Unlock company profile|
|Hitachi||26||Unlock company profile|
|Robert Bosch Stiftung||25||Unlock company profile|
|AB Volvo||24||Unlock company profile|
|IFP Energies nouvelles||21||Unlock company profile|
|Nissan Motor||21||Unlock company profile|
|Bayerische Motoren Werke||21||Unlock company profile|
|Institut Francais du Petrole (IFP)||20||Unlock company profile|
|Cummins||18||Unlock company profile|
|Porsche Automobil Holding||18||Unlock company profile|
|Mercedes-Benz Group||17||Unlock company profile|
|Johnson Matthey||17||Unlock company profile|
|Newlenoir||15||Unlock company profile|
|YANMAR POWER TECHNOLOGY||13||Unlock company profile|
|Hyundai Motor Group||13||Unlock company profile|
|Tata Motors||11||Unlock company profile|
|CONTOUR HARDENING||11||Unlock company profile|
|DeltaHawk Engines||10||Unlock company profile|
|Continental||10||Unlock company profile|
|Isuzu Motors||9||Unlock company profile|
|GE Jenbacher & OHG||9||Unlock company profile|
|Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung||9||Unlock company profile|
|Visteon||8||Unlock company profile|
|Yanmar Holdings||8||Unlock company profile|
|NGK Spark Plug||7||Unlock company profile|
|IMAGINEERING||7||Unlock company profile|
|Phillips 66||6||Unlock company profile|
|Westport Power||6||Unlock company profile|
|Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation||5||Unlock company profile|
|Airbus||5||Unlock company profile|
|IHI||5||Unlock company profile|
|Zhejiang Geely Holding Group||5||Unlock company profile|
|Caterpillar||5||Unlock company profile|
|Shell||5||Unlock company profile|
|Mitsubishi Electric||5||Unlock company profile|
|Denso||5||Unlock company profile|
|Cosmo Energy Holdings||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Mazda, with 299 patents, is one of the top companies to file for homogeneous charge compression ignition engines patents. Mazda is the first to introduce the technology as it highlighted HCCI as the next stage in its gasoline engine technology roadmap when it launched its Skyactiv-D and Skyactiv-G engines. Denso, Toyota, and General Motors 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.