The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by safety, customer demand, and environmental concerns, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, sensor integration, and wireless connectivity. 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 Internet of Things in automotive: smart 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 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, LiDAR scanners, smart automotive lighting, and autonomous steering are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle sensor network, AV tire health monitoring, and collision avoidance systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among the maturing innovation areas are remote trip monitoring and smart speed governors, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the automotive industry

Smart de-icing windows is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Smart de-icing windows are windows that have the ability to de-ice themselves using innovative technologies. These windows are equipped with electrically conductive components and solder, which help in de-icing the windows by melting ice and snow. The use of lead-free solder and mechanical stress modifiers ensures the prevention of stress faults in the glass and maintains the bonding strength between the glass and the metal components. These windows are widely used in automotive vehicles and provide convenient and efficient de-icing solutions.

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 smart de-icing windows.

Key players in smart de-icing windows – 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 smart de-icing windows

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nippon Sheet Glass 328 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 32 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 36 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 47 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 73 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 217 Unlock Company Profile
Webasto 73 Unlock Company Profile
AGC Glass Europe 75 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 56 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 38 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 57 Unlock Company Profile
Hanon Systems 47 Unlock Company Profile
Gentherm 102 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 65 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 1708 Unlock Company Profile
PPG Industries 96 Unlock Company Profile
Vitro 47 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 38 Unlock Company Profile
Mahle 100 Unlock Company Profile
Central Glass 62 Unlock Company Profile
Nitto Denko 43 Unlock Company Profile
Dai Nippon Printing 107 Unlock Company Profile
LG 252 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 51 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 52 Unlock Company Profile
AGC 244 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 42 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 47 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 34 Unlock Company Profile
KURABE INDUSTRIAL 29 Unlock Company Profile
Eberspacher Gruppe 65 Unlock Company Profile
Few Fahrzeugelektrikwerk 36 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain is one of the leading patent filers in smart de-icing windows and introduced 4.0 technologies. Some other key patent filers in the space include Nippon Sheet Glass and LG.

In terms of application diversity, Kuraray leads the pack, while Vitro SAB de CV and Few Fahrzeugelektrikwerk stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain held the top position, followed by Webasto and Nitto.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in 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.