The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the pressing need for modernization and automation, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and computer vision. 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 Robotics in defense: autonomous mobile bots. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData


Data Insights Robotics in defence: Autonomous mobile bots

Buy the Report

Data Insights

The gold standard of business intelligence.

Find out more

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.

Autonomous mobile bots is a key innovation area in robotics

Autonomous mobile bots are robotic systems that are capable of operating and navigating without human control. These bots are designed to perform tasks and functions autonomously, using sensors, algorithms, and artificial intelligence. They can navigate through complex environments, interact with their surroundings, and make decisions based on real-time data. Autonomous mobile bots are used in various industries and applications to automate processes, enhance efficiency, and improve productivity.

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 290+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of autonomous mobile bots.

Key players in autonomous mobile bots – 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 autonomous mobile bots

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
General Electric 19 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 19 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 17 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 21 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in autonomous mobile bots. The aircraft manufacturer introduced its first autonomous mobile collaborative robot (cobot) called Wayne in the Boeing Aerostructures Australia 787 production facility in Port Melbourne in 2020.

Designed and engineered by the Australian branch of Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T), the mobile cobot uses AI, 3D vision systems, laser scanners, and a host of safety sensors to self-navigate and move around the complex factory environment and perform important but repetitive tasks such as sanding and cleaning, while reducing potential workplace injuries. The battery-operated cobot is equipped with lightweight robotic arms and can operate for approximately 10 hours at a time.

Some other key patent filers in this space include AeroVironment, Airbus, and Textron.

In terms of application diversity, Airbus, Boeing, and Raytheon Technologies are some of the leading patent filers from the aerospace and defense industry. By means of geographic reach, the leading patent filers in the industry include Wisk Aero, Textron, and Safran.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics in Defense.

Data Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.