The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and the growing importance of technologies such as drones, satellite technology, and big data. 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 Artificial intelligence in defense: AI in trajectory prediction. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

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, precision imaging drones, aircraft maintenance AI, and AI video analytics are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Aerial imaging, autonomous flight controls, and surveillance AI are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the aerospace and defense industry

AI in trajectory prediction is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

AI in trajectory prediction refers to the application of artificial intelligence techniques, specifically neural networks, to predict the future trajectory or path of an object or vehicle in a given environment. This involves analyzing sensor data, such as current state information and environmental factors, and using neural network models to generate predictions of the object's future states or actions based on historical data.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI in trajectory prediction.

Key players in AI in trajectory prediction – 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 AI for trajectory prediction

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 8 Unlock Company Profile
Thales 5 Unlock Company Profile
Wing Aviation 11 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 5 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 4 Unlock Company Profile
NOV 5 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 6 Unlock Company Profile 15 Unlock Company Profile
LG 7 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 7 Unlock Company Profile
Aurora Innovation 5 Unlock Company Profile
Chongqing Jinkang New Energy Vehicle 5 Unlock Company Profile
Aurora Operations 8 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in the application of AI for trajectory prediction. Some of the patents filed by the aircraft manufacturer are related to methods and systems of using machine learning algorithms and deep neural network to forecast the plane’s flight path and provide more adaptive in-flight management in response to unforeseen conditions. The machine learning method is based on obtaining and analyzing the real-time aircraft states from the onboard sensor data and retrieving the recorded surveillance data corresponding to a particular aircraft type and route.

Some other key patent filers in this space include Aptiv, Thales, and BAE Systems.

In terms of application diversity, Boeing, Teledyne FLIR, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are some of the leading patent filers. By means of geographic reach, some of the leading patent filers include Boeing, Raytheon Technologies, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Defense.

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.