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: imaging drone swarms. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData


Data Insights Drones in defence: Imaging drone swarms

Buy the Report

Data Insights

The gold standard of business intelligence.

Find out more

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.

Imaging drone swarms is a key innovation area in drones

Imaging drone swarms refer to a coordinated group of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with cameras that work together to capture images or videos. These swarms can be controlled remotely and are capable of autonomous movement and photography. Imaging drone swarms have emerged as a transformative technology in aerospace and defense. These coordinated groups of unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with advanced imaging systems offer unparalleled capabilities in surveillance, reconnaissance, and monitoring. With high-resolution cameras and collaborative intelligence, drone swarms can efficiently cover large areas, adapt to dynamic scenarios, and provide real-time data for tasks such as infrastructure surveillance and search and rescue operations.

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of imaging drone swarms.

Key players in imaging drone swarms – 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 imaging drone swarms

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
GoerTek 2 Unlock Company Profile
Korean Air Lines 4 Unlock Company Profile
AeroVironment 7 Unlock Company Profile
AT&T 4 Unlock Company Profile
Alps Alpine 4 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 7 Unlock Company Profile
Teledyne FLIR 5 Unlock Company Profile
Motorola Solutions 5 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 4 Unlock Company Profile
Israel Aerospace Industries 4 Unlock Company Profile
Axon Enterprise 4 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 4 Unlock Company Profile
Topcon 4 Unlock Company Profile
Parrot 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 3 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 9 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 7 Unlock Company Profile
Teledyne Technologies 3 Unlock Company Profile
CACI International 5 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 25 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 8 Unlock Company Profile
LG 18 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 4 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 5 Unlock Company Profile
Galileo Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
GoPro 51 Unlock Company Profile
Eagle Eye Networks 2 Unlock Company Profile
Skydio 19 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 257 Unlock Company Profile
ideaForge Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
Cape Productions 2 Unlock Company Profile
ABC Services 2 Unlock Company Profile
OPTiM 3 Unlock Company Profile
Autel Robotics USA 23 Unlock Company Profile
Loveland Innovations 13 Unlock Company Profile
Polar Pro Filters 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hanwha Aerospace 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ondas 4 Unlock Company Profile
RapidDeploy 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Hubsan Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Lite-On Electronics 2 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 3 Unlock Company Profile
Cloudparc 6 Unlock Company Profile
Isolynx 3 Unlock Company Profile
Zerotech (Shenzhen) Intelligence Robot 2 Unlock Company Profile
Guangzhou Xaircraft Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Quantified Energy Labs 2 Unlock Company Profile
Nomura Research Institute 4 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Skydio is one of the leading patent filers in the imaging drone swarms segment. It specializes in developing drones exclusively designed for aerial imaging. The company's product lineup featuring offerings like Skydio 2+ and Skydio X2, is tailored for deployment in defense, public safety, and enterprise inspection applications. It recently filed patents related to virtual unzoomed imaging, user Interaction paradigms for a flying digital assistant, and performing 3D reconstruction via an unmanned aerial vehicle, among others.

Some other key patent filers in this space include AeroVironment, Teledyne FLIR, and Israel Aerospace Industries.   

In terms of application diversity, Axon Enterprise, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Hanwha Aerospace are some of the leading innovators. By means of geographic reach, some of the leading patent filers include Israel Aerospace Industries, Skydio, and Axon Enterprise.

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.

Data Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.