The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the pressing need for modernisation and the growing importance of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems. 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 Internet of Things in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Radar for vehicle anti-collision.
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, aircraft powertrain controls, remote controlled drones, and aircraft anti-collision systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. UAV swarm control, lidar for vehicle anti-collision, and satellite image smoothing techniques are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are sensor-guided aiming assists and aircraft flight control systems, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the aerospace and defence industry
Radar for vehicle anti-collision is a key innovation area in Internet of Things
A collision sensor utilises vibrations to detect impacts and is used to enhance safety in vehicles. They are also known as impact sensors.
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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of radar for vehicle anti-collision.
Key players in radar for vehicle anti-collision – 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 radar for vehicle anti-collision
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Alphabet is one of the leading patent filers in radar for vehicle anti-collision. The company has filed several patents in the sector, as part of a concerted push to advance autonomous vehicles primarily to advance fully autonomous vehicles and to develop technology including autonomous parking capabilities. The primary product advanced by the company is Waymo, which has been under development since 2009. Amazon is the second largest patent filer in the sector. The company is advancing the technology for package delivery purposes and has filed patents for anti-collision sensors in autonomous vehicles designed to detect obstacles on the road. This can assist with detecting stoplights and other potential obstacles.
Alphabet is also the largest company in terms of application diversity, indicating its dominant position in the market. The second largest company in the sector is Israel Aerospace Industries, which is developing technology for object tracking purposes. The most significant company in terms of geographic spread is ADB SAFEGATE, which is an aerospace company focused on creating smart terminals.
The investment in the technology is concentrated in the commercial sector, but companies including Amazon that obtain defence contracts will likely develop the technology with dual-use capabilities.
The industry is seeing multidimensional expansion with companies filing patents for numerous reasons, but the development of the technology will have an overall positive effect on the aerospace and defence sector.
To further understand how Internet of Things is disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research - Internet of Military Things.