The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by increased environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns, demand for greater efficiency in commercial shipping and goods delivery, and trends in increased automation and growing importance of technologies such as electric vehicles, autonomous flight, and artificial intelligence. In the last three years alone, there have been over 237,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defense industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Drones in defense: autonomous delivery drones. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 206,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the aerospace and defense industry, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Autonomous delivery drones is a key innovation area in drones
Autonomous delivery drones refer to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are designed to transport and deliver packages or goods without the need for human input. These drones will be equipped with various sensors and autonomous systems to enable scaled and efficient item delivery, with applications in both domestic delivery services and military logistics. These drones will also require specialized carrying equipment to ensure stable and safe package delivery, alongside increased lift and propulsion power to ensure it can lift heavy loads which other drones are not designed to handle.
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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of autonomous delivery drones.
Key players in autonomous delivery drones – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defense industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to autonomous delivery drones
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Boeing leads in patents filing for delivery drones in the aerospace and defense industry, recording 21 patents from 2015 to 2023. Its closest competitor in this space is Cubic Corporation, a US-based firm with global operations in private transportation and defense, with 20 patents. In 2020 Cubic collaborated with the firm Manna to develop a drone delivery service for restaurant takeaway meals. Israel Aerospace Industries is the other leading patent filer in this space, with 10 patents filed in the same period.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Drones in Aerospace and Defense.