The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need to lower operational costs, larger consumer trends, and electrification, and growing importance of technologies such as hydrogen and electric aircraft and advanced materials. 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 Environment Sustainability in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Battery management systems. Buy 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 stabilising 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.

180+ innovations will shape the aerospace and defence industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defence industry using innovation intensity models built on over 262,000 patents, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, hydrogen fuel cells, aircraft powertrain control systems, and fuel cells for aircraft are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. EV charging stations, collapsible aircraft wings, and electric aircraft charging interfaces are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are fuselage frame modelling and powered wheels for aircraft landing, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the aerospace and defence industry

Battery management systems is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

A battery management system is a system which manages the onboard electronics of an aircraft, monitoring that the battery is performing optimally and safely, and regulating its operation.

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 140+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of battery management systems.

Key players in battery management systems – 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’.

Patent volumes related to battery management systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
CEA 1675 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 234 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 191 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 153 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 151 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 113 Unlock Company Profile
LG 109 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 108 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 93 Unlock Company Profile
HADAL 90 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 87 Unlock Company Profile
Wing Aviation 71 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 68 Unlock Company Profile
Solvay 67 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 63 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 60 Unlock Company Profile
Amazon.com 57 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 55 Unlock Company Profile
Thunder Power Hong Kong 54 Unlock Company Profile
Wenzhou Ruichu Technology 54 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 53 Unlock Company Profile
Nio 50 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 46 Unlock Company Profile
Rolls-Royce Holdings 45 Unlock Company Profile
Kitty Hawk 41 Unlock Company Profile
Naval Group 39 Unlock Company Profile
IHI 37 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 35 Unlock Company Profile
iRobot 33 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 33 Unlock Company Profile
Textron 29 Unlock Company Profile
Cayago 29 Unlock Company Profile
Nileworks 28 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems 28 Unlock Company Profile
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory 26 Unlock Company Profile
Renault 26 Unlock Company Profile
Lockheed Martin 25 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Post 24 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 22 Unlock Company Profile
Wisk Aero 21 Unlock Company Profile
H55 20 Unlock Company Profile
Workhorse Group 19 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 19 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 18 Unlock Company Profile
Locus Robotics 18 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 18 Unlock Company Profile
Umicore 17 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 17 Unlock Company Profile
Outrider Technologies 16 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in battery management systems among aerospace and defence companies. The company is one of the leading producers of commercial aircraft globally. Battery management systems are increasingly an essential component of commercial aircraft, with aircraft systems becoming more electrified and fly-by-wire increasingly becoming the norm. Boeing is cognisant of the environmental impact of battery production and disposal and is investing in the development of batteries with a more limited climate impact. Other key patent filers in battery management include Airbus and Safran.

In terms of application diversity, Raytheon Technologies leads the pack among aerospace and defence companies. Lockheed Martin and Textron are in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographical reach, Naval Group holds the top position, followed by Safran and Airbus.

As aircraft systems become more electrified and fly-by-wire becomes the industry norm, there is increasing reliance on batteries in modern aircraft. To enhance the sustainability of this transition, batteries and battery management systems must be developed by being mindful of the climate impact of their production and disposal.

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

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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.