The aerospace and defenceindustry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by capability modernisation, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems. 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 Soldier modernization in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Navigation device calibration.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 262,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the aerospace and defence industry, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Navigation device calibration is a key innovation area in soldier modernisation

The accuracy of precision navigation devices such as GPS is dependent on the system’s initial calibration. Various devices such as the O-GPS1 must be calibrated before each use to ensure accuracy and reliability. There are two primary methods of calibration for navigational devices: simple calibration is the most commonly used method, though some systems require ‘high-precision calibration’ such as devices with AstroTracer (astronomy detection and tracking) functions.

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of navigation device calibration.

Key players in navigation device calibration – 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’.

Qualcomm is the leading patent filer with regards to navigational device calibration methods, with its flagship Qualcomm Navigator SDK utilising several novel sensor-built calibration procedures to ensure the optimal function of computer-vision supported autonomous navigation solutions, which may have applications in the soldier modernisation market for man-portable drones. Honeywell International is the second most prolific filer of patents in this domain, having produced several variants of its hGuide series of inertial navigation solutions for the aerospace and unmanned systems markets. Some other key patent filers in the automotive industry include Safran , Sony Group , NVIDIA , Continental and TDK .

In terms of application diversity, NVIDIA has published the most diverse array of patents, followed closely by Kubota and Microsoft. By means of geographic appeal, Sofresud achieved the broadest global reach, followed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and SZ DJI Technology .

As armies around the globe look to modernise the capabilities of their dismounted infantry units, many organisations are turning to small, man-portable UAVs to provide organic and flexible ISR capabilities to soldiers on the ground. However, as the future battlefield becomes increasingly disrupted due to the emergence of electronic warfare and Counter-UAS capabilities, designing navigation solutions with adaptive calibration solutions will remain key to ensuring the continued proliferation of unmanned systems in future conflicts.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Soldier Modernization.

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.