Research and innovation in artificial intelligence in the air force equipment and technologies sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of AI related patent applications in the industry stood at 134 in the three months ending June – down from 172 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to AI followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 67 in the three months ending June 2021 to 65 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who 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.

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By GlobalData

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

Boeing was the top AI innovator in the air force equipment and technologies sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 39 AI related patents in the three months ending June. That was up from 28 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the France-based Thales with 22 AI patent applications, the United States-based Raytheon Technologies (21 applications), and the Netherlands-based Airbus (16 applications).

Airbus has recently ramped up R&D in AI. It saw growth of 37.5% in related patent applications in the three months ending June compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the air force equipment and technologies sector.