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.
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
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.
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.