The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for enhanced driving experience, fuel efficiency, and engine performance, and growing importance of technologies such as sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. 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: Hybrid diesel-PV systems. 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

Hybrid diesel-PV systems is a key innovation area in automotive

The integration of a photovoltaic system and a diesel generator to supply the load is known as a PV-diesel hybrid system. The technology provides customers access to electricity around-the-clock while efficiently reducing the time of operation of diesel generators.

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 hybrid diesel-PV systems.

Key players in hybrid diesel-PV systems – 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 hybrid diesel-PV systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 45 Unlock Company Profile
IdentiFlight International 31 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 29 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 18 Unlock Company Profile
MicroLink Devices 10 Unlock Company Profile
Meditor European Master Fund 9 Unlock Company Profile
X Development 9 Unlock Company Profile
Beam Global 8 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 8 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 8 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Hanon Systems 7 Unlock Company Profile
NewEnergy 7 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 7 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Hanergy Photovoltaic Investment 7 Unlock Company Profile
Amotech 6 Unlock Company Profile
Inalfa Roof Systems Group 6 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sunstone IP Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
NTT 6 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 6 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 6 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 6 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 5 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Trane Technologies 5 Unlock Company Profile
Viavi Solutions 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota, with 45 patents, is one of the top companies to file for hybrid diesel-PV systems patents. Toyota’s Prius, a plug-in hybrid, has a solar roof manufactured by Sharp, which offers an additional range to the car by capturing the sun’s energy and adding it to the battery. Alphabet, Panasonic, and Ford 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.