The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by strict emission regulations for enhancing fuel efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as electric turbochargers (e-turbos), wastegate turbocharger and geometry turbocharger. 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 turbochargers.
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 turbochargers is a key innovation area in automotive
In an internal combustion engine, a turbocharger (often called a turbo) is a forced induction device that is driven by the flow of exhaust gases. It utilises the energy to compress the intake gas, compelling more air into the engine in order to create more power for a given displacement.
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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vehicle turbochargers.
Key players in vehicle turbochargers - 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 turbochargers
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
BorgWarner is one of the leading innovative players in vehicle turbochargers and has filed 423 patents. BorgWarner’s product portfolio for light vehicles includes the regulated two-stage (R2S®) turbocharging system and the latest turbine geometry (VTG) turbochargers. The VTG turbochargers ensure precise adjustment to the relevant engine operative points. Equipped with adjustable, electrically actuated vanes that control the pressure upstream of the turbine, the VTG turbochargers enable nearly instant acceleration and optimum power output. Porsche, Mitsubishi, Honeywell International, IHI and Toyota are other leading companies with a high number of patent filings in vehicle turbochargers.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.