Global Unmanned Underwater Vehicles Market to Take Deep Dive to Reach USD 24.28 billion by 2032: Astute Analytica

The UUV market is booming, with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) leading the charge. Rapid innovations in autonomy, sensors, and subsea residency increase UUVs capabilities for longer, deeper missions. Industry partnerships drive advancements, focusing on ease of use and carbon-free solutions, solidifying demand in oil & gas, research, and defense sectors.

New Delhi, March 14, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The global unmanned underwater vehicles market is projected to reach a valuation of US$ 24.28 billion by 2032, up from US$ 4.24 billion in 2023, at a CAGR of 21.40% during the forecast period 2024–2032.

The Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) market is experiencing significant growth driven by rapid technological advancements. These advancements have expanded the capabilities and potential applications for UUVs across industries. In line with this, they are increasingly being equipped with sophisticated sensors and instruments for collecting crucial data on bathymetry, water quality, and seafloor conditions.  Apart from this, they often come equipped with navigation and control systems like inertial navigation, GPS, and sonar to ensure precise underwater movement. For seamless communication, most of the manufacturers are offering UUVs enabled with wireless communication systems and robust storage solutions enable real-time data transmission and storage. Astute Analytica’s study revels that most of these vehicles are fitted with lithium-ion batteries for long range, but fuel cell option is being explored to extent this range further.

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It has been observed that most of the manufacturers and end users around the world are targeting lightweight and durable materials such as carbon fiber composites are transforming UUV design. Additionally, the integration of AI is leading to enhanced autonomous capabilities and intelligent decision-making. Therefore, making UUVs increasingly valuable assets in diverse sectors. These advancements are fueling market growth as UUVs become essential tools for defense, scientific research, and environmental monitoring.

The defense sector is a major adopter of UUVs and contributes over 39% revenue to global unmanned underwater vehicles market, primarily utilizing them for intelligence gathering, mine countermeasures, and surveillance operations. Moreover, UUVs are revolutionizing deep-sea exploration and oceanographic studies in scientific research activities. Wherein, the environmental sector heavily relies on UUVs to monitor and protect underwater ecosystems, understand the status of marine pollution, and track climate change impacts.

Key Findings in Unmanned Underwater Vehicles Market

Market Forecast (2032) US$ 24.28 Billion
CAGR 21.40%
Largest Region (2023) North America (38.70%)
By Component Hardware Systems (59.06%)
By Type Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) (62.13%)
By Application/End Use Defense (39.15%)
Top Trends
  • Rapid technology advancements in UUVs, including improved communication and increased depth accessibility.
  • The advent of smart devices is leading to improved operational management and risk management.
  • UUVs emerging as a cost-effective substitute for deepwater drilling operations.
Top Drivers
  • Rising investments by businesses in the oil and gas industry drives growth of unmanned underwater vehicles market
  • The need for safety and reduced human involvement in potentially hazardous underwater situations.
  • The US Navy’s investment in UUVs for near-term deployment and future capabilities.
Top Challenges
  • Reduction in defense budgets impacting research and development, contracts, and production of UUVs.
  • Shifting customer preferences, innovative business models, and new entrants transforming commercial unmanned underwater vehicle sales

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) Captured Over 62% Revenue share of UUVs Market

Over the last few years, demand for AUVs or automated underwater vehicles have been booming in the unmanned underwater vehicles market. Improvements in many aspects, like autonomy and sensors, and also subsea residency has given a significant push to these products. Some of these vehicles have even gone on to make headlines for their exceptional performance. Houston Mechatronics’ Aquanaut is one of them boasting a 200km range and 24-hour endurance run time just gives you an idea of how much work developers are putting into making better operational capabilities.   Recently, the market has also seen another big effort from participants to show their dedication to innovation and sustainability. Ocean Power Technologies, Modus, and Saab Seaeye have teamed up together to develop carbon-free AUV residency solutions which will be a great help in protecting our environment.

 AUVs are changing how we do things underwater in various industries with each advancement they take on but not without reason too as they continue to break barriers through multiple avenues such as autonomy and endurance that were unheard of before Kongsberg Maritime’s HUGIN Endurance. The use of advanced sensors aided by AI technology similar to how Saipem’s FlatFish AUV uses, it allows for more complex inspection work all while collecting more data compared traditional methods in the unmanned underwater vehicles market. These continuous improvements prove that AUVs are quickly developing new skills that make them valuable assets in oil & gas, marine research, and defense operations.

In order for the industry to move forward at a faster pace, developers have started focusing on two areas: Ease of use for customers and operational efficiency. For instance, Seaber’s YUCO Micro AUVs has provided intuitive web-based interfaces for easier control over their product. While Teledyne Gavia has focused on providing a modular design with its SeaRaptor vehicle that aims at offering flexibility during different missions and payloads sessions helping us complete tasks quicker than ever before

Defense Sector is the Leading Buyer of UUVs, Controls More Than 39.15% Revenue Share

From the past few years, unmanned underwater vehicles market have been able to capture a lot of attention from the defense sector for their strategic value on the battlefield. Wherein, it can be dangerous for humans to navigate under the sea, which is where UUVs come into play. Apart from this, they are becoming a must have for many military operations including intelligences gathering, mine countermeasures, and strengthening underwater defense. In short, the UUAs give technology gives armed forces the ability to excel in underwater surveillance, reconnaissance and warfare.

UUVs equipped with specialized Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sensors provide rapid and persistent surveillance, making them very valuable in this rapidly changing maritime warfare. Situational awareness is everything in modern warfare where enemies are finding new ways to stay hidden from radar. The U.S. Navy specifically has put a great deal of resources into AUV technology with investments in surveillance, mine countermeasures and reconnaissance missions.

Recent Contracts and Developments Adding More Fuel to Demand for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles Market from defense Sector

  • United States: In March 2023, Textron Systems secured a $54 million contract from the U.S. Navy for the development of a mine countermeasure system under the MAGNUSS program. Raytheon Technologies began building prototypes of a small torpedo designed to attack hostile submarines in January 2023. The U.S. Navy selected Anduril to develop large AUVs for distributed, long-range, persistent underwater sensing and payload delivery in contested environments.
  • Sweden: Saab AB conducted collaborative testing with the Swedish Navy to evaluate the Enforcer III, an autonomous test platform, in September 2022.
  • United Arab Emirates: AD Ports Group and Fugro formalized an agreement for the implementation of remote and autonomous technologies in 2022.
  • Norway: Equinor has been using ROVs for underwater inspections, reducing the need for human divers and cutting costs and operational risks.
  • China: Significant investments have been made in both military and civilian applications of UUVs, with deployments for seabed mapping, environmental monitoring, and potentially surveillance in the South China Sea.
  • European Union: The EU’s focus on environmental monitoring and climate change research has shaped its UUV market, with projects funded under the Horizon 2020 program.

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Competitive Landscape Depends Heavily Strategic Collaboration and Partnership

Several key players across the global the unmanned underwater vehicles market are implementing various strategies to maintain their stronghold on the market.  They are taking all the efforts to make sure their dominance or market share is maintained through various strategies including mergers and acquisitions, strategic agreements and contracts, and the adoption of advanced technologies. For instance, Metron Inc. has partnered with Cellula Robotics in March 2024 to enhance UUV capabilities for long-duration operations in dynamic environments, addressing technical gaps in defense and offshore energy markets. This collaboration integrates Metron’s Resilient Mission Autonomy portfolio with Cellula’s Solus and Imotus vehicle families for delivering AI-enabled situational awareness and real-time mission adaptation.

In the same month, Austal USA has teamed up with Saildrone to construct the Saildrone Surveyor for the U.S. Navy, a development that underscores the strategic importance of UUVs in naval operations. Apart from this, L3Harris, Voyis, and Wavefront have collaborated to enhance NATO Navy’s AUV capabilities, integrating advanced sonar and imaging payloads onto the Iver4 900 platform for defense missions. Moreover, Sonardyne and MSubs entered into A strategic partnership aimed at advancing long-endurance autonomous underwater platform capabilities for the U.K. defense sector, integrating Sonardyne’s navigation.

Recent Developments in the Global Unmanned Underwater Vehicles Market in 2023 and 2024

  • Orca Extra Large UUV: The delivery of an Orca Extra Large UUV test vehicle marked a significant milestone, with the first vehicle initially planned for delivery by mid-2024.
  • Razorback Medium UUV: Modifications were completed to allow the Razorback Medium UUV to be deployed and recovered from a submarine’s torpedo tube, enhancing its operational flexibility in unmanned underwater vehicles market.
  • Lionfish and Medusa Programs: The Lionfish program aims to replace the Mk 18 Mod 1 Swordfish UUV, and the Navy is nearing the start of acquisition for a Medusa UUV.
  • Seabed and Port Security: The U.S. government is seeking technologies for seabed and port security to defend against divers and UUVs, indicating a focus on counter-UUV strategies.

Contract Awards and Prototyping Efforts

  • DIU Prototype Development: The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) selected three companies—Oceaneering International, Kongsberg Discovery, and Anduril Industries—to develop and prototype large undersea drones for the Navy.
  • Live Demonstrations: Live demonstrations of the Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV) technology are scheduled for March 2024, showcasing the latest advancements.
  • Autonomous Systems and Communications: There is a push for UUVs with automatic target recognition technology and advanced communications capabilities.

Operational Testing and Integration

  • UUV Launch and Recovery Tests: The U.S. Navy conducted successful tests involving submarines launching and recovering UUVs, paving the way for future operational capabilities in North America unmanned underwater vehicles market.
  • BALTOPS 23 Exercise: The U.S. Sixth Fleet tested new unmanned systems capabilities, including UUVs, during the BALTOPS 23 exercise, demonstrating the integration of emerging technologies.

Legislative and Strategic Considerations

  • Legislative Attention 2023: Lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would require the Pentagon to analyze and formulate a strategy to enhance U.S. defenses against undersea drones.

Industry Collaborations and Agreements

  • International Collaboration: Anduril Industries signed an agreement with Australia to develop a vehicle similar to the Orca XLUUV, showcasing international collaboration in unmanned underwater vehicles market.

Global Unmanned Underwater Vehicles Market Key Players

  • Andrews Survey
  • Atlas Elektronik GmbH
  • BAE Systems Plc
  • BaltRobotics Sp.z.o.o.
  • Boston Engineering Corporation
  • DOF Subsea AS
  • Forum Energy Technologies
  • Fugro Subsea Services Ltd
  • General Dynamics Mission Systems, Inc.
  • Helix Energy Solutions
  • i-Tech (Subsea 7)
  • Kongsberg Gruppen ASA
  • L3Harris Technologies, Inc.
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Oceaneering International Inc.
  • Saab AB
  • TechnipFMC plc
  • Other Prominent Players

Key Segmentation:

By Type

  • Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
    • Observation Vehicle
    • Light Work Class Vehicle
    • Medium Work Class Vehicle
    • Heavy Work Class Vehicle
    • Towed and Bottom-Crawling Vehicle
  • Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)
    • Small AUVs
    • Medium AUVs
    • Large AUVs
  • Hybrid Underwater Vehicle (HUV)

By Component

  • Hardware System
    • Imaging System
    • Sensors and Automation Systems
    • Steering and Positioning
    • Navigation System
    • Energy and Propulsion
    • Others
  • Software System
  • Operation and Service

By Application/End Use

  • Oil & Gas
    • Pipeline Inspection
    • Welding
    • Others
  • Defense
  • Renewables
  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Protection & Monitoring
  • Others

By Region

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa (MEA)
  • South America

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