The most recent figures show that the number of AI patent applications in the industry stood at 64 in the three months ending September – down from 70 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to AI followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from 28 in the three months ending September last year to 28 this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, which track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas and linked to key companies across various industries.

AI is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

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Raytheon Technologies Corp was the top artificial intelligence innovator in the military equipment and technologies sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 66 AI-related patents in the three months ending September. That was up from 54 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the US-based Boeing with 36 AI patent applications, the Netherlands based Airbus SE (24 applications), and France based Thales SA (15 applications).

Airbus SE has recently ramped up R&D in artificial intelligence. It saw growth of 50% in related patent applications in the three months ending September compared to the same period last year - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the military equipment and technologies sector.