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 industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in oil & gas: underwater 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.
Underwater robots is a key innovation area in robotics
Underwater robots, also known as unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), are robotic devices designed to operate underwater without the need for human intervention. These robots are equipped with sensors, propellers, and mechanical systems that enable them to navigate underwater environments and perform tasks such as inspection, surveying, data collection, maintenance, and exploration. Underwater robots can be either remotely controlled or operated autonomously, making them valuable tools for a wide range of applications in the marine industry, scientific research, and environmental monitoring.
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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of underwater robots.
Key players in underwater 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 underwater robots
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|HADAL||43||Unlock Company Profile|
|Saudi Arabian Oil||36||Unlock Company Profile|
|Halliburton||32||Unlock Company Profile|
|Boeing||24||Unlock Company Profile|
|Eni||22||Unlock Company Profile|
|Kongsberg Gruppen||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Uni-President China||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|DeepOcean Group||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Naval Group||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung Heavy Industries||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Kawasaki Heavy Industries||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Oceaneering International||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Kitakyushu Foundation For The Advancement of Industry Science and Technology||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|ABB||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Alcon||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|ThyssenKrupp||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Juliet Marine Systems||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|NEC||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|International Business Machines||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Fujifilm||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|BAE Systems||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Saab||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Cerberus Capital Management||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Honeywell International||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|TechnipFMC||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Lockheed Martin||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ocean Infinity||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Prodrone||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Foro Energy||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Equinor||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ebara||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|SoftBank Group||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Airo||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Petroleo Brasileiro||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|CGG||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|LG||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung Group||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|State Grid Corporation of China||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|L3Harris Technologies||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Yueqing Huazun Electric||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|DeepOcean||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|CRRC Group||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|ThayerMahan||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|SparkCognition||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Jinling Inst Technology||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Guangzhou Bureau Of Extra High Voltage Transmission Company Of China Southern Power Grid||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|X Development||2||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
HADAL is one of the leading patent filers in underwater robots. The company’s robots can be deployed for investigation directly on the seabed depending on the specific requirement. Each robot or lander is equipped with customized instrumentation for performing measurements, conducting experiments, and recovering samples. Some other key patent filers in underwater robots include Saudi Arabian Oil, Halliburton, Boeing, and Eni.
In terms of application diversity, Samsung Group leads the pack, while LG and IBM stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, HADAL held the top position, followed by Eni and DeepOcean Group.
Oil and gas companies are increasingly using underwater robots to limit human intervention, improve safety, increase efficiencies, and reduce time and costs.
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.