The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing demand for efficient and sustainable energy solutions, advancements in solar energy technology, expanding applications of drones across various industries, and growing importance of technologies such as IoT sensors, wireless communication, advanced flight control systems, and efficient photovoltaic drones for aerial surveillance, environmental monitoring, and infrastructure inspection applications. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Internet of Things: Photovoltaic drones. 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.
300+ innovations will shape the technology industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, environmental sensors, digital twins, and network-on-a-chip are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Intelligent embedded systems, smart factory systems and smart grids are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, contactless verification, wearable physiological monitors, and software-defined wide area network, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for IoT in the technology industry
Photovoltaic drones is a key innovation area in IoT
Photovoltaic drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that utilise solar energy as their primary power source. These drones incorporate photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight into electrical energy, enabling extended flight durations and diverse operational capabilities. Tasks performed by photovoltaic drones encompass aerial surveillance, mapping, communication relays, and even package delivery.
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 290+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of photovoltaic drones.
Key players in photovoltaic drones – a disruptive innovation in the technology 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 photovoltaic drones
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Safran||9503||Unlock Company Profile|
|General Electric||6844||Unlock Company Profile|
|Rolls-Royce||4138||Unlock Company Profile|
|Raytheon Technologies||3697||Unlock Company Profile|
|Airbus||2200||Unlock Company Profile|
|UpStack||1421||Unlock Company Profile|
|Honeywell International||1236||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens||938||Unlock Company Profile|
|Boeing||810||Unlock Company Profile|
|MTU Aero Engines||737||Unlock Company Profile|
|IHI||600||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries||407||Unlock Company Profile|
|Safran Aircraft Engine||260||Unlock Company Profile|
|Aviva||154||Unlock Company Profile|
|Exxon Mobil||150||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mitsubishi||141||Unlock Company Profile|
|Alstom||140||Unlock Company Profile|
|Lockheed Martin||136||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens Energy||136||Unlock Company Profile|
|Kawasaki Heavy Industries||132||Unlock Company Profile|
|Melrose Industries||115||Unlock Company Profile|
|SZ DJI Technology||104||Unlock Company Profile|
|Toshiba||98||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hitachi||98||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mitsubishi Electric||94||Unlock Company Profile|
|Doosan||86||Unlock Company Profile|
|BASF||83||Unlock Company Profile|
|Textron||82||Unlock Company Profile|
|Woodward||79||Unlock Company Profile|
|Liebherr-International||75||Unlock Company Profile|
|Deutsche Lufthansa||70||Unlock Company Profile|
|Aeronext||67||Unlock Company Profile|
|BAE Systems||65||Unlock Company Profile|
|China National Aviation Holding||62||Unlock Company Profile|
|Leonardo||56||Unlock Company Profile|
|Compagnie de Saint-Gobain||56||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sumitomo Electric Industries||54||Unlock Company Profile|
|CDP Equity||51||Unlock Company Profile|
|Qualcomm||50||Unlock Company Profile|
|Albany International||50||Unlock Company Profile|
|Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique||48||Unlock Company Profile|
|AeroVironment||48||Unlock Company Profile|
|EADS Deutschland||48||Unlock Company Profile|
|European Aeronautic Defence and Space||46||Unlock Company Profile|
|Amazon.com||45||Unlock Company Profile|
|Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt eV||45||Unlock Company Profile|
|SoftBank Group||42||Unlock Company Profile|
|Vestas Wind Systems||42||Unlock Company Profile|
|Honda Motor||39||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sulzer Metco||39||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Safran is one of the leading patent filers in photovoltaic drones. The company’s patents are aimed at a method for modelling an offset portion of a blade of a non-ducted propeller.
The method includes parametrising a C1-class curve representing a deformation of the blade characterising the offset, according to a position along a section at a given height in the blade, the curve intersecting consecutively through a first bend control point, a central control point, and a second bend control point, with the first and second bend control points defining the extent of the blade section.
The parametrisation is implemented according to a first deformation parameter defining the abscissa of the central control point, with a second parameter of deformation defining the ordinate of the second bend point and a third deformation parameter defining the angle of the tangent to the curve at the second bend control point.
The method also includes optimising one of the deformation parameters and plotting the values of the optimised parameters on an interface.
By geographic reach, Albany International leads the pack, followed by ArcelorMittal and Wobben Properties. In terms of application diversity, Novartis holds the top position, followed by XOMA and Hutchinson.
IoT innovation in photovoltaic drones can revolutionise the field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by integrating IoT capabilities and solar power generation. Photovoltaic drones, equipped with solar panels, harness solar energy to power their operations and extend their flight duration.
To further understand how IoT is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things – Thematic Research.