The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by developments in artificial technology and machine learning, and growing importance of technologies such as drones, satellite technology and big data. In the last three years alone, there have been over 174,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defence industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Lidar for 3D object detection. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

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. 

180+ innovations will shape the aerospace and defence industry 

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defence industry using innovation intensity models built on over 262,000 patents, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Within the emerging innovation stage, machine learning for autonomous navigation, battery thermal management system, and satellite image mosaicing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. 3D image segmentation, AV on-board control systems, and lidar for 3D object detection are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is sensor-guided aiming assists, which is now well established in the industry.  

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the aerospace and defence industry 

Lidar for 3D object detection is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence 

LiDAR is a key sensor for providing 3D information about an object, and can localise and distinguish the shapes. It is critical for the deployment of UGVs. 

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 100+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of lidar for 3D object detection. 

Key players in lidar for 3D object detection – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence 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 lidar for 3D object detection

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Baidu 239 Unlock Company Profile
Faro Technologies 97 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 62 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 61 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 60 Unlock Company Profile
Didi Global 55 Unlock Company Profile
Here 55 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 53 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 49 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 38 Unlock Company Profile 34 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 34 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 33 Unlock Company Profile
Hexagon 33 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 32 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 30 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 30 Unlock Company Profile
TomTom 28 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 27 Unlock Company Profile
LG 27 Unlock Company Profile
Halliburton 25 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 24 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Goodix Technology 24 Unlock Company Profile
Konecranes 23 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing TuSimple Future Technology 22 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 22 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 20 Unlock Company Profile
Microvision 20 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 20 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 19 Unlock Company Profile
Pictometry International 19 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 18 Unlock Company Profile
Digital Signal 17 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 15 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 15 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 15 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm Holdings 15 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 13 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 13 Unlock Company Profile
GuangDong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications 13 Unlock Company Profile
European Commission 13 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 13 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 13 Unlock Company Profile
L3Harris Technologies 13 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 12 Unlock Company Profile
HTC 12 Unlock Company Profile
PRENAV 12 Unlock Company Profile
Luminar Technologies 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sick 12 Unlock Company Profile
Matterport 12 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Baidu is one of the leading patent filers in anti-collision LiDAR. The company is advancing autonomous vehicle technology and aims to field a fleet of autonomous taxis within China. The second largest patent filer is Faro Technologies, which provides 3D LiDAR scanning for industry production and modelling that can be utilised in defence for manufacturing capabilities. Other key patent filers in the industry include Sony, NVIDIA and Alphabet.

In terms of application diversity, Halliburton is the leader, followed by LG and NVIDIA. By geographic reach, Halliburton is the leader, followed by Konecranes and the European Commission.

Lidar for 3D application has significant applications for defence, both for production and for UGV deployment. Though currently a large number of patents are being filed in the commercial sector, it will have an impact on the defence sector.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: AI in Defense

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.