The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the uptake of advanced technology, and growing importance of technologies such as hypersonics and advanced materials. 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 Internet of Things in defense: GPS augmentationBuy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

110 innovations will shape the aerospace and defense industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defense industry using innovation intensity models built on over 206,000 patents, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, satellite-based positioning, GPS augmentation, and lidar-sonar fusion are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Lidar weather forecasting, coherent LIDAR imaging, and lidar solid state photodetectors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is electronic intruder alarms, which is now well established in the industry.  

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the aerospace and defense industry

GPS augmentation is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

GPS augmentation is a system that helps by providing accuracy, integrity or any improvement to positioning or navigation which is external to the GPS itself.

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 390+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of GPS augmentation.

Key players in GPS augmentation – 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 GPS augmentation

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 49 Unlock Company Profile
Casio Computer 32 Unlock Company Profile
Elbit Systems 21 Unlock Company Profile
Faurecia 16 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 94 Unlock Company Profile
Thales 59 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 38 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 117 Unlock Company Profile
Amer Sports 14 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 15 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 42 Unlock Company Profile
Hexagon 52 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 27 Unlock Company Profile
Trimble 30 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 15 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 14 Unlock Company Profile
Northrop Grumman 17 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 37 Unlock Company Profile
Furuno Electric 21 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 20 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Defence 13 Unlock Company Profile
TDK 19 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 23 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 32 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 43 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 42 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 29 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 25 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 56 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 17 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 34 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 25 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 42 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 32 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 36 Unlock Company Profile
adidas 26 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 39 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 97 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 25 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 19 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 70 Unlock Company Profile
NextNav 14 Unlock Company Profile
Didi Global 13 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 16 Unlock Company Profile
Furuno Electric 25 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 57 Unlock Company Profile
Focal Point Positioning 15 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Huace Navigation Technology 27 Unlock Company Profile
Here 14 Unlock Company Profile
SSW Partners 19 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Baidu, Continental, Qualcomm, Epson, Thales, and Samsung are among the leading patent filers for GPS augmentation.

Qualcomm provides several GPS solutions including via satellites. These systems provide GPS corrections and integrity monitoring. The company has several satellite systems based globally to provide these capabilities, with a Chinese system currently in development. It partnered with Huawei to provide this capability with 5G enhancements.

By application diversity, Adidas is the top filer, followed by Kubota and Intel. In terms of geographic reach, Adidas also leads the pack, followed by NEC and Continental.

GPS in coming years will likely continue to be supported by satellite systems, which will augment existing capabilities providing increased precision amongst other features.

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