The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by stringent regulations on emissions and rising consumer awareness of eco-friendly techniques, and the growing importance of technologies such as machine learning and predictive controls. 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: PV power converter systems. 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

PV power converter systems is a key innovation area in automotive

A photovoltaic (PV) power converter system is a type of power inverter that converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or off-grid electrical network.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of PV power converter systems.

Key players in PV power converter 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 PV power converter systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson Controls International 29 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 23 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 12 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 12 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 12 Unlock Company Profile
SMA Solar Technology 10 Unlock Company Profile
Tesla 10 Unlock Company Profile
Bloom Energy 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Delta Electronics 6 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 5 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 5 Unlock Company Profile
Orison 5 Unlock Company Profile
Chung-Hsin Electric and Machinery Manufacturing 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson Controls International is a key player in the PV power converter systems innovation area. Johnson’s PV power converter systems can integrate with utility system infrastructures and absorb excess grid power or contribute needed power to support the overall power grid. The systems can provide backup power supply to ensure continuity and improve a facility’s power factor and improve power quality. Robert Bosch Stiftung, Hitachi, Siemens, and Schneider Electric are some of the other key players.

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.