The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, driven by the use of big data and artificial intelligence, as well as the growing importance of technologies such as machine learning and edge computing. According to GlobalData’s report on Cloud in Aerospace, Defense & Security: Drone Launch Techniques, more than 174,000 patents have been filed and granted in the aerospace and defense industry in the last three years alone.
However, not all innovations are created equal, nor do they have a constant upward trend. Instead, their development follows an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical life cycle from early emergence to accelerated adoption before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.
In order to understand their current level of adoption and their likely future trajectory and impact, it is important to identify where a given innovation is along the path, particularly those in the development and acceleration stages.
180+ ways to innovate aerospace and defense industry
According to GlobalData Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defense industry using innovation intensity models based on more than 262,000 patents, there are more than 180 areas of innovation that will shape the future of the industry.
In the framework appears innovation stage, beam forming antennas, route guidance sensor networks and V2V equipped autonomous vehicles are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of adoption and need to be closely monitored. Some of these include drone-launching techniques, smart grids for EV charging, and location-based network services speeding up innovation in areas where adoption has steadily increased. Between maturation areas of innovation are indoor navigation systems and indoor positioning systems, which are now well established in the industry.
The S-Curve of Innovation for Clouds in Aerospace and Defense
Drone launch techniques are a key area of cloud innovation
The launch period for UAVs is critical, fixed-wing UAVs need a minimum airspeed before takeoff, and large UAVs need a minimum runway length during takeoff or landing. Small drones are easier to launch, but there are improvements that can be made to improve launch efficiency.
GlobalData’s analysis also identifies companies at the forefront of each area of innovation and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, 40 companies are involved in the development and application of drone launch techniques, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and emerging startups.
The main players drone launch techniques – disruptive innovation aerospace and defense industry
“Application diversity” measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly divides firms into either “niche” or “diverse” innovators.
“Geographic reach” refers to the number of different countries in which each relevant patent is registered and reflects the breadth of intended geographic application, ranging from “global” to “local.”
SZ DJI Technology has filed the largest number of patents in drone launch techniques. SZ DJI Technology manufactures a range of commercial drones for the consumer, agricultural and industrial sectors and specializes in high quality cameras and software integration. Most of the SZ DJI launch technology was designed to allow small handheld drones to launch more reliably in a variety of conditions and environments. The other prominent patent applicant in this field is KDDI, which specializes in the development of small commercial drones that can be used to inspect infrastructure and facilities. KDDI’s recent work in this area includes cloud-powered smart drone platforms that facilitate launch.
In terms of application diversity, KDDI is the best company because its drones can be used in various industries, and Hitachi is second. In terms of geographical spread, the first is SZ DJI Technology, followed by KDDI.
To better understand how the cloud is disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest Case Study Report: Cloud Computing in Defense.