The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by automation, environmental sustainability, and operational efficiency, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), unmanned systems and satellites. 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: drone launchers. 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.
Drone launchers is a key innovation area in drones
Drone launchers are systems or devices designed to facilitate the launch of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). ground-based systems, naval installations, and airborne platforms provide flexible and rapid deployment options. They provide a mechanism for launching drones into the air safely and efficiently. Drone launchers can include various components such as charging systems, launch tubes, landing surfaces, and docking terminals, depending on their specific design and functionality.
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 defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of drone launchers.
Key players in drone launchers – 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 drone launchers
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in the drone launchers segment. Notably, the company has submitted patents pertaining to a side-arm recovery system, designed to facilitate the operation of large unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) from compact vessels or ground sites, minimizing the spatial footprint. Patents related to vision-based navigation system are particularly associated with Aurora Flight Sciences, a subsidiary of Boeing that focuses on pioneering advancements in aircraft configurations, autonomous systems, propulsion technologies, and manufacturing processes.
Boeing also filed patents related to 3D printed designs of turbine inlets, airfoils, shafts and engine covers, among others.
Some other key patent filers in this space include Hood Technology, Aerovel, and AeroVironment.
In terms of application diversity, Skydio, Hood Technology, and Safran are some of the leading innovators. By means of geographic reach, some of the leading patent filers include Aerovel, Hood Technology and KMW+Nexter Defense Systems.
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.