The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to improve safety and efficiency, and reduce environmental impacts, and the growing importance of technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data. In the last three years alone, there have been over 523,000 patents filed and granted in the oil & gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in oil & gas: pipeline inspection robots. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 196,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the oil & gas industry, there are 60+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Pipeline inspection robots is a key innovation area in robotics
Pipeline inspection robots are robotic devices designed to inspect and provide visual information on the internal conditions of pipelines. They are equipped with cameras, sensors, and other tools to detect and evaluate problems such as corrosion, cracks, blockages, and leaks in pipelines without human intervention.
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 160+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of pipeline inspection robots.
Key players in pipeline inspection robots – a disruptive innovation in the oil & gas 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 pipeline inspection robots
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|SZ DJI Technology||193||Unlock Company Profile|
|Gecko Robotics||64||Unlock Company Profile|
|GoPro||44||Unlock Company Profile|
|OMAX||30||Unlock Company Profile|
|China General Nuclear Power||26||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung Heavy Industries||25||Unlock Company Profile|
|State Grid Corporation of China||24||Unlock Company Profile|
|Autel Robotics USA||23||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenzhen Bominwell Robotics||18||Unlock Company Profile|
|Fanuc||16||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hangzhou Shenhao Technology||15||Unlock Company Profile|
|National Grid||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|PowerChina Northwest Engineering||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|RedZone Robotics||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|LG Display||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Getinge||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|NEC||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|China National Petroleum||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hon Hai Precision Industry||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|CKD||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Qualcomm||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Melrose Industries||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|CrossWing||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Zerotech (Shenzhen) Intelligence Robot||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung Group||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|General Motors||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Uni-President Enterprises||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|UBTECH Robotics||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Wuhan Easy-Sight Technology||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|The Walt Disney||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|iRobot||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Southern Power Grid||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Beijing Drainage Group||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenzhen Autel Intelligent Aviation Technology||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Aegion||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sichuan Artigent Robotics Equipment||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Communications Construction Group||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|POSCO||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Dubai World||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Electricite de France||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Process Vision||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenzhen Sunwin Intelligent||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Country Garden||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nanjing Tianchuang Electronic Technology||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Uni-President China||3||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
SZ DJI Technology is one of the leading patent filers in pipeline inspection through robots. The company offers drones designed for a range of functions such as general inspection, leak detection and repair, and emergency response. These drones provide a live view of the pipeline network to prevent vandalism and theft. These are especially useful to survey large areas and precisely identify the site of the leakage or anomaly. Some other key patent filers in pipeline inspection robotics include Gecko Robotics, GoPro, and OMAX.
In terms of application diversity, Gecko Robotics leads the pack, while Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory and National Grid stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Gecko Robotics held the top position, followed by OMAX and Siemens.
Oil and gas companies are increasingly using robots for pipeline inspection to eliminate human intervention, increase accuracy, and improve the efficiency of operations.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics in Oil and Gas.