Research and innovation in artificial intelligence in the mining industry operations and technologies sector is on the rise.

The most recent figures show that the number of AI related patent applications in the industry stood at 60 in the three months ending June – up from 59 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to AI followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from 28 in the three months ending June 2021 to 19 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track 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.

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The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Honeywell International Inc 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 United States, filed 30 AI related patents in the three months ending June. That was down from 34 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the United States based Caterpillar Inc with 23 AI patent applications, Japan based Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd (3 applications), and Japan based Komatsu Ltd (1 applications).

Caterpillar Inc has recently ramped up R&D in AI. It saw growth of 43.5% in related patent applications in the three months ending June 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.