The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need to lower operational costs, larger consumer trends, and electrification, and growing importance of technologies such as hydrogen and electric aircraft and advanced materials. 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 Environment Sustainability in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Electric aircraft charging interfaces.
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, hydrogen fuel cells, aircraft powertrain control, and fuel cells for aircrafts are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. EV charging stations, hybrid propulsion aircraft engines and electric aircraft charging interfaces are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are fuselage frame modelling and powered wheels for aircraft landing, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the aerospace and defence industry
Electric aircraft charging interfaces is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Electric aircraft (EA) is a promising technology to combat global warming because of its potential to eliminate CO2 emission. Electric aircraft charging interfaces are necessary for recharging the aircraft batteries.
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 defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of electric aircraft charging interfaces.
Key players in electric aircraft charging interfaces – 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 electric aircraft charging interfaces
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in electric aircraft charging interfaces. The company is investing in EVTOL aircraft for urban air transport applications through its subsidiary Wisk. In order to make the UAM market viable, underlying infrastructure such as electric charging systems must also be developed alongside. Some other leading patent filers include Raytheon Technologies, Safran, and Lockheed Martin.
In terms of application diversity Raytheon Technologies leads the pack. SkyX and Lockheed Martin are in second and third positions respectively. Regarding geographic reach, Safan leads the way, followed by Wisk Aero and SkyX.
Electric aircraft hold great potential for improving the sustainability performance of the commercial aviation industry. Whilst the technology is under development, with widespread rollout a long-term goal, the benefits of electric aircraft will continue to drive investment. In order to make the technology viable, supporting infrastructure must also be developed.
To further understand how electric aircraft are disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: Electric Aircraft in Aerospace and Defense.