The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by automation, environmental sustainability, operational efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and autonomy, augmented reality (AR) technology, and battery technology. As modernization requirements continue to drive investment within both the civil and military aerospace sectors, widespread demand for remote pick-up drones has incentivized significant innovation within the field of drones. 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 Drones in defense: remote pick-up dronesBuy the report here.

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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.

Remote pick-up drones is a key innovation area in drones

Remote pick-up drones refer to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are designed to remotely and autonomously collect and transport objects or payloads. These drones are equipped with special mechanisms and features that enable them to safely lift, carry, and release various types of loads. Remote pick-up drones utilize advanced control systems and interfaces to accurately maneuver and handle objects during the pick-up and drop-off processes. They can perform tasks that would otherwise require human intervention, reducing risks, costs, and improving efficiency in a range of applications.

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 130+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of remote pick-up drones.

Key players in remote pick-up drones – 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 remote pick-up drones

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Liebherr-International 9 Unlock Company Profile
Rolls-Royce 5 Unlock Company Profile
Creative Technology 12 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Maplebear 7 Unlock Company Profile
Israel Aerospace Industries 20 Unlock Company Profile
MBDA France 5 Unlock Company Profile
Modern Technology Solutions 22 Unlock Company Profile
Lockheed Martin 15 Unlock Company Profile
Pearls of Wisdom Advanced Technologies 7 Unlock Company Profile
Wing Aviation 225 Unlock Company Profile
United Parcel Service 96 Unlock Company Profile
IDEX 6 Unlock Company Profile
Globeride 11 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 8 Unlock Company Profile
Rakuten Group 52 Unlock Company Profile
Vestas Wind Systems 11 Unlock Company Profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 11 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 9 Unlock Company Profile
Kongsberg Gruppen 7 Unlock Company Profile
Textron 17 Unlock Company Profile 12 Unlock Company Profile
Cisco Systems 8 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 83 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 22 Unlock Company Profile
The Procter & Gamble 6 Unlock Company Profile
Indutrade 7 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 149 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 9 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Post 25 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 7 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 17 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric 5 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hood Technology 31 Unlock Company Profile
Top Flight Technologies 13 Unlock Company Profile
Sarcos 8 Unlock Company Profile
Workhorse Group 36 Unlock Company Profile
Prodrone 9 Unlock Company Profile
Kitty Hawk 10 Unlock Company Profile
X Development 24 Unlock Company Profile
LAITRAM 18 Unlock Company Profile
Vita Inclinata Technologies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Aeronext 15 Unlock Company Profile
Tevel Aerobotics Technologies 76 Unlock Company Profile
Ai Robotics 7 Unlock Company Profile
Beirobotics 11 Unlock Company Profile
Senecio 18 Unlock Company Profile
PABLO AIR 10 Unlock Company Profile
AirRobot 11 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in remote pick-up drones. The company, through its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, filed patent related to corner attachment assemblies for cargo suspension systems which is a method of making use of such assemblies and aircraft equipped with underbody suspension systems using corner attachment assemblies for securing payload containers.  Boeing also filed few more patents related to remote pick-up drones, such as underwater energy harvesting drone and method for operation, drone data sharing system, drone in-flight power recharging system, drone data sharing system and drone deterrence system, method, and assembly.

Some other key patent filers in this space include Hood Technology, Modern Technology Solutions, and Israel Aerospace Industries.

In terms of application diversity, Rolls-Royce, Kongsberg Gruppen, and Beirobotics are some of the leading innovators. By means of geographic reach, some of the leading patent filers include Top Flight Technologies, MBDA France,  and Lockheed Martin.

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

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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.