The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by automation, environmental sustainability, and operational efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, autonomy, anti-collision technology, 3D printing/additive manufacturing, and battery technology. As modernization requirements continue to drive investment within both the civil and military aerospace sectors, widespread demand for surveillance drones has incentivized significant innovation within the field of drones. 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: surveillance 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.
Surveillance drones is a key innovation area in drones
Surveillance drones are remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with various sensors and cameras capable of capturing high-quality images and videos. These drones are also used for surveillance missions to collect data in real-time. They can also be operated remotely and used for surveillance, monitoring, and reconnaissance purposes in various fields including defense, agriculture, construction, and law enforcement.
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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of surveillance drones.
Key players in surveillance 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 surveillance drones
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
SZ DJI Technology is one of the leading patent filers in modular configurable drones. The company filed patents related to remote control method and terminal which is basically control of position or automatic pilot involving pointing a payload, e.g., camera, weapon, sensor, towards a fixed or moving target and system.
In terms of application diversity, Kubota, Zendrive, Denso, Doosan, Rakuten Group, and LG are some of the leading innovators. By means of geographic reach, some of the leading patent filers include Nokia, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Isolynx, Intel, and Ford Motor.
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.