The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is 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 237,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defense industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Drones in defense: drone battery swapping. Buy the report here.
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.
Drone battery swapping is a key innovation area in drones
Drone battery swapping refers to systems enabling modular batteries to be removed and installed on drone platforms, allowing for rapid recharging turnaround.
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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of drone battery swapping.
Key players in drone battery swapping – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence 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 drone battery swapping
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
SZ DJI Technology is the leading patent filer in drone battery swapping. It is a leading producer of commercial and civil drones, and is offering products for use in the agriculture, industrial, mining, oil and gas, and logistics sectors. The company’s commercial products include the DJI AGRAS T40 and MATRICE 300 RTK. To increase the economic viability of drones in these sectors, it is essential for associated infrastructure such as recharging solutions to be developed in tandem.
Some other key patent filers include Workhorse, Boeing and Nileworks. Boeing is developing an electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) aircraft for urban air mobility (UAM) through its Wisk Aero subsidiary, and Workhorse Group, an OEM developing electric logistics solutions.
In terms of application diversity, Localiza Rent A Car leads the pack. United Parcel Service and MinebeaMitsumi stand in the second and third positions, respectively. In terms of geographic reach, MinebeaMitsumi holds the top position, followed by Sony and Workhorse.
Drone battery swapping is a technological development that has the potential to greatly enhance the viability of emerging drone sectors which rely upon intense use of small, unmanned platforms, for example in logistics. The quick replacement of modular batteries would allow for rapid turnaround of drones with depleted batteries, maximizing the drone’s working time. This would have the knock-on effect of reducing the size of the fleet required to perform a given task (for example, medical deliveries in a small town), decreasing the cost of the overall operation.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Drones in Aerospace And Defense.