The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by developments in artificial technology and machine learning, and growing importance of technologies such as drones, satellite technology and big data. 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 Artificial Intelligence in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Lidar for 3D object detection.
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, machine learning for autonomous navigation, battery thermal management system, and satellite image mosaicing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. 3D image segmentation, AV on-board control systems, and lidar for 3D object detection are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is sensor-guided aiming assists, which is now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the aerospace and defence industry
Lidar for 3D object detection is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence
LiDAR is a key sensor for providing 3D information about an object, and can localise and distinguish the shapes. It is critical for the deployment of UGVs.
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 100+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of lidar for 3D object detection.
Key players in lidar for 3D object detection – 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’.
Baidu is one of the leading patent filers in anti-collision LiDAR. The company is advancing autonomous vehicle technology and aims to field a fleet of autonomous taxis within China. The second largest patent filer is Faro Technologies , which provides 3D LiDAR scanning for industry production and modelling that can be utilised in defence for manufacturing capabilities. Other key patent filers in the industry include Sony, NVIDIA and Alphabet .
Lidar for 3D application has significant applications for defence, both for production and for UGV deployment. Though currently a large number of patents are being filed in the commercial sector, it will have an impact on the defence sector.
To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: AI in Defense.