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. 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

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 - 2022) 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.

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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.