The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the pressing need for modernization and the growing importance of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems. 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 Internet of Things in defense: LiDAR-sonar fusionBuy the report here.

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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, satellite-based positioning, GPS augmentation, and LiDAR-sonar fusion are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. LiDAR weather forecasting, coherent LiDAR imaging, and LiDAR solid state photodetectors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the aerospace and defense industry

LiDAR-sonar fusion is a key innovation area in Internet of Things 

Both LiDAR and Sonar collect and analyse data about the surrounding environment. LiDAR does this by collecting information through lasers whereas Sonar does this through the emission of sound waves. LiDAR and Sonar data can be fused in order to provide a more detailed picture about the surrounding environment.  

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 110+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of LiDAR-sonar fusion. 

Key players in LiDAR-sonar fusion – 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 LiDAR-Sonar fusion

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 10 Unlock Company Profile
Orica 10 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 25 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
Israel Aerospace Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 9 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 30 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 11 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 55 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Electronics 6 Unlock Company Profile
Husqvarna 6 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 17 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 6 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 11 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 10 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems 18 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 10 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 34 Unlock Company Profile
Teledyne Technologies 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 7 Unlock Company Profile
Jenoptik 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 17 Unlock Company Profile 32 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 8 Unlock Company Profile
LG 22 Unlock Company Profile
DEKA Research and Development 12 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 10 Unlock Company Profile
iXCore 6 Unlock Company Profile
Wartsila 7 Unlock Company Profile
CR 10 Unlock Company Profile
SciVentures Investments 5 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 20 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 8 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 23 Unlock Company Profile
CPAC Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 25 Unlock Company Profile
Brain 20 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
VRT Finland 8 Unlock Company Profile
Seoul Robotics 8 Unlock Company Profile
L3Harris Technologies 7 Unlock Company Profile
Syrius Robotics 6 Unlock Company Profile
Bozhon Precision Work Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 7 Unlock Company Profile
3D at Depth 21 Unlock Company Profile
YANMAR POWER TECHNOLOGY 10 Unlock Company Profile
Here 13 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Robert Bosch Stiftung is the leading patent filer in LiDAR-Sonar fusion. Robert Bosch is a Germany-based non-profit organization, which funds research programs. It has been listed as an assignee on various patents related to LiDAR-Sonar Fusion, including those that relate to improved object identification. Some other key patent filers include Porsche Automobil, Amazon, and Valeo.

In terms of application diversity, Bozhon Precision Work Technology leads the pack. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and Samsung stand in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance holds the top position, followed by 3D at Depth, SoftBank, DEKA Research and Development, and CR Mining.

LiDAR-sonar fusion has a sizeable number of patents filed by companies with a primarily commercial market focus. Major defense companies to have filed patents in this field are Boeing and BAE Systems. Patents filed by defense companies include those that relate to threat identification and tracking systems. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Aerospace & Defense.

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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.