Mazda research and development head Kiyoshi Fujiwara said it was imperative for the company to pursue the "ideal internal combustion engine".
The technology breakthrough puts the firm ahead of rivals including Daimler and General Motors that have worked on compression ignition for decades.
The move comes as the car industry pours massive investment into electric technology in response to stricter emissions standards around the world.
The UK will ban the sale of new Petrol and diesel cars by 2040 in a bid to reduce air pollution.
The company won the Le Mans 24 Hours race with it in 1991, and the latest version was fitted in its RX-8 sportscar.
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