The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation. The conflict in Ukraine driving defence spending and investment, the need to combat emerging technologies such as hypersonics, and growing importance of technologies such as AI and computer vision. 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 Robotics in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Computer vision for autonomous navigation. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 262,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the aerospace and defence industry, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Computer vision for autonomous navigation is a key innovation area in robotics 

Computer Vision is used to enable computers to gain understanding from images or videos, providing them with capabilities to detect and identify objects including pedestrians, buildings or other objects to enable navigation. 

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of computer vision for autonomous navigation. 

Key players in computer vision for autonomous navigation – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence industry  

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to computer vision for autonomous navigation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Stradvision 74 Unlock Company Profile
Luminar Technologies 19 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 17 Unlock Company Profile 12 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 11 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 10 Unlock Company Profile
PlusAI 9 Unlock Company Profile
iRobot 9 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 8 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 7 Unlock Company Profile
CNH Industrial 7 Unlock Company Profile
Cognata 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Stradvision is the company with the largest amount of patents in this sector. The company is developing computer vision solutions for autonomous vehicles for both the civil and defence sector and utilised lidar and low-cost cameras to detect objects. The second biggest company is Luminar Technologies which is trying to make autonomous driving safer through its computer vision solutions, and aims to detect and clarify objects up to 250 metres away even in low light levels. In terms of application diversity, Luminar Technologies is first followed by and Intel, and in geographic diversity, Plus AI is first followed by Stradvision and Baidu.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Defence

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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.