The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in integrated starter generators (ISG) is driven by fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, hybrid and electric vehicle development, and growing importance of technologies such as belt-driven or crankshaft-mounted systems, and smart and connected vehicles. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in automotive: integrated starter generators (ISG). 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 stabilizing 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.

300+ 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 one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, integrated multi-motor drivetrains, electric power steering (EPS), and post-collision handling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Variable compression engines, V2V distance monitoring, and turbocharger shaft bearings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and plasma-jet ignition, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry

Integrated starter generators (ISG) is a key innovation area in automotive

Integrated starter generators (ISGs) are a type of electric machine used in hybrid vehicles that serves as both a starter motor and a generator. The ISG is incorporated into the powertrain of the vehicle and can provide additional torque and power to the engine when needed.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of integrated starter generators (ISG).

Key players in integrated starter generators (ISG) – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to integrated starter generators (ISG)

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Volvo 27 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 161 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 48 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 414 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 23 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 114 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 69 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 845 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 215 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 19 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 514 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 26 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 60 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 23 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 42 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 152 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 26 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 19 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 96 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 155 Unlock Company Profile
Oshkosh 31 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 27 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 50 Unlock Company Profile
Allison Transmission 27 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 559 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 14 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 540 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 16 Unlock Company Profile
Paice 14 Unlock Company Profile
Stella Vermogensverwaltungs 19 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 94 Unlock Company Profile
Land Rover UK 15 Unlock Company Profile
KPIT Technologies 17 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hyundai Motor is one of the key patent filers in integrated starter generators (ISG). The company uses advanced ISGs to optimize energy recovery during braking and increase fuel efficiency in vehicles equipped with start-stop systems. Hyundai’s continuous efforts to reduce the size and weight of ISG components without compromising performance, contribute to overall weight reduction and improved vehicle efficiency. Some other key patent filers in this space include  Kia and Ford Motors.

In terms of application diversity, NEC leads the pack, while Paice and Stella Vermogensverwaltungs stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Oshkosh held the top position, followed by NEC and Paice.

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.