The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by modernization imperatives, dual-use technologies, automation, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud connectivity and materials science. 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 Innovation in defense: self-calibrating scanners. Buy the report here.
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 stabilizing 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.
110 innovations will shape the aerospace and defense industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defense industry using innovation intensity models built on over 206,000 patents, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, aircraft fuel cell APUs, self-calibrating scanners, and vibration supression devices are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Aircraft ultrasonic inspection, aircraft power distribution network, and contour scanning interferometry are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are precision-guided firearms and aircraft power management, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the aerospace and defense industry
Self-calibrating scanners is a key innovation area in aerospace and defense
Self-calibrating scanners is a catch-all term referring to sensor systems capable of autonomously adjusting their detection and localization capabilities using machine learning in order to continuously optimize its capacity to discern objects or phenomena of interest in a given target environment. Various types of sensors including radar, LiDAR and electro-optronic/infrared (EO/IR) systems can integrate machine learning and thus conduct iterative improvements of their intelligence gathering and surveillance capabilities.
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 250+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of self-calibrating scanners.
Key players in self-calibrating scanners – 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 self-calibrating scanners
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Skydio is the leading patents filer within the self-calibrating scanners market, having submitted of 150 filings covering novel products and technologies with oinks to the unmanned systems and platform automation markets, including thermal-sensor data derived navigation, autonomous inspection routines, radio signal-based altitude adjustments, and telematics data integration solutions.
In terms of application diversity, Israel Aerospace Industries leads the pack, while Boeing and Airbus stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Thales leads the pack, followed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Airbus.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Aerospace & Defense.