Research and innovation in artificial intelligence in the mining industry operations and technologies sector has declined in the last quarter – but remains higher than it was a year ago.

The most recent figures show that the number of AI-related patent applications in the industry stood at 23 in the three months ending March – up from 15 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to AI followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from five in the three months ending March 2021 to three in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, which tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

AI is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from. The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

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By GlobalData

Honeywell was the top AI innovator in the mining industry operations and technologies sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the US, filed 13 AI related patents in the three months ending March. That was up from three over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the US-based Caterpillar with six AI patent applications, the US-based Freeport-McMoRan (2 applications), and Japan-based Nippon Steel (2 applications).

Honeywell has recently ramped up R&D in AI. It saw growth of 76.9% in related patent applications in the three months ending March compared to the same period in 2021 – the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked, with more than 10 quarterly patents in the mining industry operations and technologies sector.