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: EV charging stations.

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 aircraft are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. EV charging stations, battery management systems, 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 

EV charging stations is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability 

An electric vehicle charging station is an equipment that connects an electric vehicle (EV) to a source of electricity to recharge electric cars, neighbourhood electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. 

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 EV charging stations. 

Key players in EV charging stations – 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 EV charging stations

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
SZ DJI Technology 174 Unlock company profile
Walmart 154 Unlock company profile
LG 99 Unlock company profile
Boeing 85 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 72 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 58 Unlock company profile
Wenzhou Ruichu Technology 55 Unlock company profile
Nio 50 Unlock company profile
CEA 48 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 44 Unlock company profile
Wing Aviation 43 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 40 Unlock company profile
IHI 37 Unlock company profile
General Motors 36 Unlock company profile
iRobot 33 Unlock company profile
Airbus 31 Unlock company profile 28 Unlock company profile
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory 26 Unlock company profile
Kia 25 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 24 Unlock company profile
Deutsche Post 24 Unlock company profile
Kitty Hawk 22 Unlock company profile
Workhorse Group 19 Unlock company profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 19 Unlock company profile
General Electric 19 Unlock company profile
Locus Robotics 18 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 17 Unlock company profile
Outrider Technologies 16 Unlock company profile
NEC 16 Unlock company profile
Alarmcom Holdings 15 Unlock company profile
Siemens 15 Unlock company profile
Gatekeeper Systems 15 Unlock company profile
Percepto 14 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 14 Unlock company profile
ThyssenKrupp 14 Unlock company profile
Xiaomi 13 Unlock company profile
Kibbutz Yizreel Holdings 2004 ACS 13 Unlock company profile
MinebeaMitsumi 13 Unlock company profile
Nileworks 12 Unlock company profile
Wisk Aero 12 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 12 Unlock company profile
HADAL 12 Unlock company profile
Nidec 12 Unlock company profile
Husqvarna 12 Unlock company profile
Meta Platforms 12 Unlock company profile
Kubota 11 Unlock company profile
Textron 11 Unlock company profile
Deutsche Telekom 11 Unlock company profile
SkyX 11 Unlock company profile
Safran 10 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Amongst aerospace and defence companies, Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in EV charging stations, along with its affiliated company, Wisk Aerou, which was formed in 2019 through a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk, and has Boeing serving as the firm’s strategic partner, providing development, testing, and certification support. Wisk is pursuing the development of all-electric, autonomous, four-seat eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) air taxis for passenger transport. In order to roll out their product, the development of recharging stations is essential for deployment at proposed urban air transport hubs. Some other key patent filers in the aerospace and defense industry include Airbus, Textron, and SkyX.

In terms of application diversity, amongst aerospace and defence companies Textron leads the pack. SkyX and Boeing stood in second and third positions respectively. Regarding geographic reach, Safran holds the patents with the greatest reach, followed by Wisk Aero and SkyX. 

EV charging stations in the medium term will be an essential component of the proposed novel segment of the aviation industry — urban air transport. It is proposed that small EVTOL aircraft can be used for very short-range aerial transport in urban areas between hubs at which charging stations will be positioned.   

To further understand how electric vehicles are disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research - Electric Vehicles in Defence


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.