The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by enhanced engine efficiency and the regulations to reduce emissions, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence and Internet of Things. 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: Vehicle turbocharger vanes. 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

Vehicle turbocharger vanes is a key innovation area in automotive

A variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) uses vanes to regulate the amount of air entering the turbine. These vanes are connected to an actuator that either opens or closes them. Closed vanes will deliver less amount of air but with more pressure to the turbine wheel, which decreases the turbo lag at low speeds as the exhaust gasses are pressurised. Open vanes deliver a larger amount of air to the turbine wheel, rolling the turbine faster and creating more boost or compression.

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 vehicle turbocharger vanes.

Key players in vehicle turbocharger vanes - 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 vehicle turbocharger vanes

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
BorgWarner 166 Unlock Company Profile
Garrett Motion 109 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 108 Unlock Company Profile
IHI 95 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 93 Unlock Company Profile
Bosch Mahle Turbo Systems 91 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 69 Unlock Company Profile
IHI Charging System International 60 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 48 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 47 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 34 Unlock Company Profile
FountainVest Partners 34 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 15 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 15 Unlock Company Profile
Rolls-Royce Holdings 12 Unlock Company Profile
Williamsmpanies 10 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 10 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 9 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 9 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 8 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Steel Nisshin 6 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

BorgWarner is a key player in the vehicle turbocharger vanes innovation area. BorgWarner vehicle turbocharger vanes feature a robust electric actuator that controls the pressure upstream of the turbine and precisely adjusts the guide vanes for nearly instant acceleration and optimum power output. The company’s patented vehicle turbocharger vanes regulate the VTG turbine output and improve thermodynamics and engine response at very low rpm by changing the inflow angle and speed at the turbine wheel inlet. The turbocharger vanes enable excellent response and smooth power delivery while enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions for a wide range of vehicle segments. Honeywell International, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Garrett Motion, and Bosch Mahle Turbo Systems 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.