Aerospace & Defense

To Infinity and Beyond

In February of 2015, 100 candidates were selected from a field of 202,586 applicants to win a chance to be the first humans to set foot on Mars. The highly controversial Mars One project has been narrowing down the field of applicants for three years with the ambitious goal of colonizing the Red Planet by 2024.

Whether or not Mars One ever gets off the ground, the ambition of its mission is less out-of-reach than it sounds. With a number of well-funded privateer space programs, such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin making rapid progress in the development of new spacecraft, it might not be too long before we’re taking intergalactic vacations.

While not every aerospace innovation is as dramatic as the effort to colonize Mars, the broad aerospace and defence sector has seen a great deal of attention from the likes of United Technologies (U.S.), General Electric (U.S.), Boeing (U.S.), and Airbus (France), despite a 1.5% overall decline in annual, global innovation.

The most impactful aerospace research is currently coming from the University of Michigan, with specialization in the use of surrogates in place of expensive models for testing components and nickel-based super alloys for advanced turbine engines.

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“Innovation is at the very core of our organization; it’s what we do, and how well we innovate will determine the success of our company. But we can never rest, never let ourselves get comfortable. The world is constantly changing, and those that don’t adapt don’t stay on top for long. That really raises the bar on our teams, and it drives us to think differently about how we bring innovation to life in our markets, or in other words, how we commercialize it.”

Dr. John Tracy Chief Technology Officer at Boeing

Patent Activity



Change from 2013
*Unique innovations may be represented in multiple subsectors.

Top 5 Companies

  • 1 Jiangxi Hongdu Aviation 488
  • 2 State Grid Corp 396
  • 3 Hyundai 348
  • 4 LG 316
  • 5 Samsung 307
  • 1 Airbus 544
  • 2 Siemens 347
  • 3 SNECMA 259
  • 4 Bosch 214
  • 5 Rolls Royce 211
  • 1 United Technologies 1024
  • 2 GE 619
  • 3 Boeing 560
  • 4 Honeywell 160
  • 5 Bell Helicopter 123

(Patent Data as of March 2015) Total number of documents by region