The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the pressing need for modernization and the growing importance of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems . In the past three years alone, more than 174,000 patents have been filed and granted in the aerospace and defense industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Aerospace, Defense and Security: Drone Launch Techniques.
However, not all innovations are created equal, nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that mirrors their typical life cycle, from early emergence to accelerated adoption, before finally leveling off and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those in the emerging and accelerating phases, is critical to understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact that ‘they will have.
More than 180 innovations will shape the aerospace and defense industry
According to GlobalData Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defense industry using innovation intensity models based on over 262,000 patents, there are over 180 areas of innovation that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation phase, aircraft powertrain controls, remotely operated drones and aircraft collision avoidance systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and need to be closely monitored. UAV swarm control, lidar for vehicle anti-collision and satellite image smoothing techniques are some of the accelerating areas of innovation, where adoption has steadily increased. Among maturation areas of innovation are sensor-guided aiming aids and aircraft flight control systems, which are now well established in the industry.
S-curve of innovation for the Internet of Things in the aerospace and defense industry
Drone launch techniques is a key area of innovation in internet of things
Modern UAV platforms come in a range of different airframes and sizes, which in some cases require specialized technology and techniques to get off the ground. Some smaller fixed-wing drones are launched from pneumatic, hydraulic, or bungee-assisted catapults, while larger drone platforms require runways or advanced catapult systems like those found in modern aircraft carriers.
GlobalData’s analysis also reveals which companies are at the forefront of each area of innovation and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity in different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40 companies, spanning technology providers, established aerospace and defense companies, and emerging start-ups engaged in the development and application of drone launch techniques.
The key players in drone launch techniques – a breakthrough innovation in the aerospace and defense industry
“Application diversity” measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly divides companies into “niche” or “diversified” innovators.
“Geographical scope” refers to the number of different countries in which each relevant patent is registered and reflects the scope of intended geographical application, ranging from “global” to “local”.
SZ DJI Technology has filed the most patents in this field in recent years. SZ DJI Technology produces a range of commercial drones for the consumer, agricultural and industrial sectors. Most of DJI’s SZ launch technologies have been developed to allow small, portable drones to launch more reliably in a variety of conditions and environments. The second most prominent patent applicant in this area is KDDI, which specializes in the development of small commercial drones that can be used to inspect infrastructure and facilities. KDDI’s recent work in this area includes smart drone platforms that facilitate launches.
In terms of application diversity, KDDI is the top company due to the variety of industries its drones can be used in, and Hitachi is second. In terms of geographical distribution, SZ DJI Technology is the first, followed by KDDI.
To better understand how the Internet of Things is disrupting the Aerospace and Defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest topical research report on Thematic research – Internet of military objects.