Aerospace and Defense The industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with the conflict in Ukraine driving defense spending and investment, the need to combat emerging technologies such as hypersonics, and the growing importance of such as artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision. In the past three years alone, over 174,000 patents have been filed and granted in the aerospace and defense industry. , according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in Aerospace, Defense and Security: Autonomous Control Systems.
However, not all innovations are created equal, nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that mirrors their typical life cycle, from early emergence to accelerated adoption, before finally leveling off and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those in the emerging and accelerating phases, is critical to understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact that ‘they will have.
180+ innovations will shape aerospace and defense industry
According to GlobalData Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defense industry using innovation intensity models based on over 262,000 patents, there are over 180 areas of innovation that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging the innovation phase, collision avoidance for robots, computer vision for autonomous navigation, and autonomous control systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be closely monitored. UAV swarm control and drone flight control system are among the accelerating areas of innovation, where adoption has steadily increased. A maturation The area of innovation is sensor-guided aiming aids which are now well established in the industry.
S-curve of innovation for robotics in the aerospace and defense industry
Autonomous control systems is a key area of innovation in robotics
Autonomous control systems (ACS) are tools that use AI, machine learning (ML) and data acquisition to provide robots with the ability to operate with little or no human control, even when they operate in an uncertain or contested environment.
GlobalData’s analysis also reveals which companies are at the forefront of each area of innovation and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity in different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are more than 10 companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and emerging start-ups engaged in the development and application of autonomous control systems.
Key Players in Autonomous Control Systems – Disruptive Innovation in Aerospace and Defense Industry
“Application diversity” measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly divides companies into “niche” or “diversified” innovators.
“Geographical scope” refers to the number of different countries in which each relevant patent is registered and reflects the scope of intended geographical application, ranging from “global” to “local”.
Baidu is one of the main applicants for patents in autonomous control systems. The company has invested heavily in self-driving technology and is trying to increasingly commercialize the technology and achieve mass production in the coming years. Baidu is rolling out its technology in China and has developed a number of autonomous taxi systems, which have incorporated machine learning and can predict how other road users are likely to act. Another big company in the sector is Mitsubishi Electric, which develops autonomous driving technologies, using radars and cameras to enable autonomous navigation. Other key patent filers in this sector include Robert Bosch Stiftung, General Motors, Ford and Huawei.
In terms of application diversity, Ford Motor is the leader, with Huawei and Baidu in second and third place. By geographic scope, Boeing leads, followed by Hitachi and Ford Motor.
Existing autonomous systems depend on human attention at all times; at least theoretically, however patent filings suggest technology is on the way that will allow full autonomy and that is the direction investment is taking.
To better understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on defense.
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