The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the focus on environmental sustainability to reduce air pollution, improve energy efficiency and promote sustainable economic growth, and  growing importance of emission control measures such as catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters, and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Environmental Sustainability: Engine exhaust control systems. 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.

300+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, environmental sensors, smart grid monitoring system, and EV battery management systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Waste management systems, engine exhaust control systems, and hybrid solar are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are energy trading platforms, EV charging metering automation and smart grid metering, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the technology industry

Engine exhaust control systems is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Engine exhaust control systems are designed to lower emissions from internal combustion engines, especially vehicle  engines. These systems utilise different technologies such as catalytic converters to control the discharge of harmful pollutants into the air.

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 technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of engine exhaust control systems.

Key players in engine exhaust control systems – a disruptive innovation in the technology 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 engine exhaust control systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Motor 177 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 99 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 91 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 67 Unlock Company Profile
Isuzu Motors 49 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 43 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 42 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 28 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 25 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 23 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 20 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 13 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 13 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 12 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 11 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 9 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 6 Unlock Company Profile
J C Bamford Excavators 6 Unlock Company Profile
Suzuki Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile
GE Jenbacher 6 Unlock Company Profile
Eaton 5 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in engine exhaust control systems, Toyota Motor is the leading patent filer. One of its patents, for example, is aimed at developing a hybrid vehicle with an air conditioning device having a control device that intermittently operates and controls the internal combustion engine and motor generator. Intermittent operation control automatically starts and stops the internal combustion engine, while drag control stops fuel to the engine and rotates the crankshaft using the motor generator. If heating is needed for the air conditioning and the engine cooling water temperature is below a threshold, the control device prohibits intermittent stop and drag control to continue the engine operation.

Other prominent patent filers in exhaust control systems include Ford Motor and Porsche Automobil Holding.

By geographic reach, Volvo leads the pack, followed by Suzuki Motor and GE Jenbacher. In terms of application diversity, Volvo also holds the top position, followed by Continental and Honda Motor.

Engine exhaust control systems can alleviate air pollution by reducing harmful emissions from combustion engines, such as those found in cars and trucks. They help to improve the air quality and reduce the negative impacts of engine emissions on the environment and human health.

To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sustainability – Thematic Research.

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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.