The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by automation, environmental sustainability, and operational efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as 3D printing/additive manufacturing, battery innovation, photovoltaic (PV) cell, and battery swapping technology. As modernization requirements continue to drive investment within both the civil and military aerospace sectors, widespread demand for solar EVs has incentivized significant innovation within the field of electric vehicles. 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 Electric vehicles in defense: solar EVsBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 206,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the aerospace and defense industry, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Solar EVs is a key innovation area in electric vehicles

Electric vehicles that are powered by solar energy are termed as solar EVs. These vehicles have solar panels attached to its body that use PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity, which is then used to charge the vehicle’s battery. Solar EVs combine the benefits of renewable energy and electric mobility, offering a sustainable and clean transportation solution.

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 defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of solar EVs.

Key players in solar EVs – 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 solar EVs

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
AeroVironment 9 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 1 Unlock Company Profile
Karem Aircraft 3 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Aerospace Industries 1 Unlock Company Profile
Lockheed Martin 8 Unlock Company Profile
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 1 Unlock Company Profile
EchoStar 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ascent Solar Technologies 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Autoever 1 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 2 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 7 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 14 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 17 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electric Power 2 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Defence 3 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems 1 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 1 Unlock Company Profile
Inspace 1 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Jibei Electric Power 1 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 33 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Development Bank 7 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 8 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 8 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering 5 Unlock Company Profile
Jd 1 Unlock Company Profile
HADAL 9 Unlock Company Profile
JET PRODUCTS 2 Unlock Company Profile
SolAero Technologies 6 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon 1 Unlock Company Profile
Intertechnique 3 Unlock Company Profile
Saildrone 13 Unlock Company Profile
HD Hyundai 1 Unlock Company Profile
X Development 2 Unlock Company Profile
Triad National Security 2 Unlock Company Profile
Vector Launch 1 Unlock Company Profile
ASE Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
ThayerMahan 3 Unlock Company Profile
Agency For Defense Development 4 Unlock Company Profile
Shadecraft 10 Unlock Company Profile
Xi'An Huanic Optoelectronic 1 Unlock Company Profile
Redwire 4 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 8 Unlock Company Profile
Aigen 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in solar EVs. The company, through its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, filed patent related to solar power system which is a method to use solar energy by a solar power system comprising a solar panel, a load, and a battery pack group. Boeing also filed few more patents related to solar EVs, such as lightweight flexible solar array, solar cells for a solar cell array,  multijunction solar cell having patterned emitter and method of making that solar cell, direct solar imaging star tracker and stacked solar array.

Some other key patent filers in this space include Saildrone, AeroVironment, Korea Aerospace Industries, Raytheon Technologies, BAE Systems, and Lockheed Martin.

In terms of application diversity, ThayerMahan, Karem Aircraft, and Vector Launchare some of the leading innovators. By means of geographic reach, some of the leading patent filers include Airbus, Redwire, and Triad National Security.

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.