Technological Changes and Competitive Advantage: The New Deal for Avionics Firms 2014-01-2173
Since 2000, avionics is facing several changes, mostly driven by technological improvements in the electronics industry and innovation requirements from aircraft manufacturers. First, it has progressively lost its technological leadership over innovation processes. Second, the explosion of the electronics consumer industry has contributed to shorten even more its technology life cycles, and promoted the use of COTS. Third, the increasing complexity of avionics systems, which integrate more and more functions, have encouraged new players to enter the market.
The aim of this article is to analyze how technological changes can affect the competitiveness of avionics firms. We refer to criticality levels as a determinant of the market competitiveness. Certification processes and costs could stop new comers to bring innovations from the consumer electronics industry and protects traditional players.
The study will compare three avionics systems regarding their patent dynamics since 1980: flight controls, Integrated Modular avionics and Head-Up Displays. We assume that differences in the market competitiveness may appear due to their differences in their related criticality level. Systems belonging to Design Assurance Level A or B required wide-range of capabilities and long-term experience. The opportunity for new comers to introduce a certified-version of their product could be constrained by certification requirements.