The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the conflict in Ukraine, the need to combat emerging technologies, 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: Aircraft anti-collision systems. Buy the report here.
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 stabilising 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.
180+ innovations will shape the aerospace and defence industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defence industry using innovation intensity models built on over 262,000 patents, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, aircraft anti-collision systems, and autonomous control systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Radar for vehicles anti-collision and LiDAR imaging are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are acoustic signalling for autonomous vehicles, which are now well established in the industry.
Aircraft anti-collision systems is a key emerging innovation area in robotics
An airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS) operates in the air and is independent of ground-based equipment as well as air traffic control. Its purpose is to warn pilots of the presence of other aircraft and preventing the threat of mid-air collisions.
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 aircraft anti-collision systems.
Key players in aircraft anti-collision systems – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to aircraft anti-collision systems
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|General Dynamics||20||Unlock company profile|
|SZ DJI Technology||17||Unlock company profile|
|Amazon.com||16||Unlock company profile|
|Boeing||15||Unlock company profile|
|Israel Aerospace Industries||8||Unlock company profile|
|Honeywell International||8||Unlock company profile|
|Airbus||8||Unlock company profile|
|Saab||8||Unlock company profile|
|Nippon Telegraph and Telephone||7||Unlock company profile|
|SPACE DATA||7||Unlock company profile|
|Everseen||6||Unlock company profile|
|Thales||6||Unlock company profile|
|Intel||6||Unlock company profile|
|Seamatica Aerospace||5||Unlock company profile|
|Cape Productions||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Boeing is the leading patent filer in aircraft anti-collision systems. The company is investing in the technology as dual use for both commercial and military purposes. Applications being pursued by Boeing are not limited to in-flight purposes but are also utilised to help aircraft manoeuvre whilst on the ground. The technology adds a layer of safety on top of a variety of other anti-collision systems in operation. The second biggest patent filer in the sector is Israel Aerospace Industries, which has developed the systems for use in military jets, with the explicit purpose of reducing risks in congested airspace.
In terms of application diversity, Thales is in the top spot, with Intel and Cape Productions in second and third respectively. By geographic reach, Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries are the first and second largest companies, respectively.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Defence.