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Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Market Size - By Payload Type (Cameras, Sensors, Synthetic Aperture Sonar, Echo Sounders, Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers), By Type (Shallow AUVs, Medium AUVs, Large AUVs), By Sub-system, By Application & Forecast, 2024 - 2032

  • Report ID: GMI2279
  • Published Date: May 2024
  • Report Format: PDF

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market Size

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market size was valued at USD 1.9 billion in 2023 and is estimated to register a CAGR of over 14% between 2024 and 2032. Owing to the ongoing research, analysis, and real-world applications of the vehicles by renowned military organizations across the globe. These powerful autonomous vehicles drastically increase reconnaissance and mine detection, leading to lower casualties among soldiers performing crucial underwater missions.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market

In the wake of more and more military operations being extended underwater, the demand for more proficient and competent autonomous systems is on the rise. For instance, in March 2024, the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted the inaugural surface run of a High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. The test took place at the Shipyard's International Ship Repair Facility Jetty in Kochi.

The demand for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) is flourishing, owing to the innovations in the field and the wide range of applications they serve. These machines are becoming indispensable in marine exploration, monitoring of surroundings, and offense affairs. The rapid development of AUV equipment, including more advanced sensors, high-power batteries, and efficient autopilot navigation systems, has improved their overall reliability and usage.

Moreover, AUVs have become a key military asset and perform both mine countermeasures and submarine detection. Therefore, the market will grow driven by their multi-aspect features sought after by several industries. For instance, in June 2023, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), the first of its kind in India, was launched. Named 'Neerakshi', the AUV was designed to detect mines and was a collaborative effort between Engineers (GRSE) Ltd, the MSME entity AEPL, and Kolkata-based warship maker Garden Reach Shipbuilders.

The AUV market could have a promising future. However, the market faces some significant challenges that could become a hindrance to its expansion. The high initial amount needed for AUV development and procurement has become an issue, especially for organizations of smaller scale or a singular research institution. Moreover, AUVs generally require special maintenance and hence have high capital costs.

The low range and endurance of these systems, along with the need for continuous battery charging requirements, may become a hindrance, especially during longer missions or deep-sea operations. Likewise, licensing regulations and restrictions in policies may present limitations of possibilities for global outreach. However, although there are some barriers, it is predicted that the AUVs market will probably remain on the growth trajectory.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market Trends

The AUV industry is growing owing to some leading trends, such as navy and military programs that work on expanding their in-service assets by acquiring more competent underwater systems. Moreover, with increasing globalization and advancing fleets of the navy, they tend to modernize and therefore, demand AUVs that have higher capabilities. Research and development in the military/naval fields mainly focus on the upgradation of AUVs to help improve several features such as endurance, sensor capabilities, mine countermeasures, underwater surveillance, submarine warfare, etc.

These approaches help encourage creativity in the AUV technology and also lead to cost reduction through economic development. Due to these factors, technology is improving and the AUVs have become highly efficient and capable vehicles that can fulfill the modern needs of naval operations.

For instance, in May 2024, Northrop Grumman's prototype unmanned underwater vehicle completed a crucial series of tests announced by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. This milestone marked a significant achievement in DARPA's Manta Ray program, initiated in 2020 to advance technologies for a new category of autonomous Underwater Unmanned Vehicles (UUVs).

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market Analysis

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market Size, By Payload Type, 2022-2032 (USD Billion)

Based on payload type, the market is divided into cameras, sensors, synthetic aperture sonar, echo sounders and acoustic doppler current profilers. The acoustic doppler current profilers segment accounted for a market share of around 34% in 2023. These instruments are an integral part of the AUV, providing vital information on sea level and water velocity data.

Increased applications in oceanography, environmental monitoring, and coastal infrastructure have led to a demand for AUVs equipped with these systems. As ADCP continues to evolve, delivering accuracy and performance, the market is anticipated to continue its growth, driven by the demand for advanced oceanographic research.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market Revenue Share, By Application, 2023

Based on application, the autonomous underwater vehicle market is categorized into military & defense, oil & gas, environment monitoring, oceanography, archaeology & exploration, and search & salvage operation. The military & defense segment accounted for a market share of around 39% in 2023. These sophisticated unmanned systems are invaluable for providing naval operations, including anti-missile systems, submarine surveillance, and anti-submarine warfare.

AUVs have significant advantages over traditional methods, such as reduced risk to human life and greater operational flexibility. As global security threats evolve, military organizations are investing in AUVs equipped with advanced sensors and navigation systems. Thus, the market for autonomous underwater vehicles is growing exponentially, driven by the growing demand for these autonomous platforms to enhance maritime safety and security capabilities.

North America Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market, 2022-2032 (USD Million)

North America dominated the global autonomous underwater vehicle market with a major share of over 39% in 2023. The region’s extensive coastline, with its extensive maritime activities and defense investments, drives demand for AUVs in a variety of industries. The region invests heavily in advanced AUV technology for naval operations, marine science research, marine energy exploration, and environmental monitoring. Furthermore, the presence of popular AUV manufacturers and research institutes in the region contributes to the market growth. As a result, there is a rapid ongoing expansion in the market in North America.

Demand for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) in the US is strong and growing. Since the U.S. has an extensive coastline and an intense interest in the sea, it needs advanced underwater technologies for defense, marine science research, and commercial applications. The U.S. Navy invests heavily in AUVs for mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and underwater research. Additionally, state coastal agencies use AUVs to inspect pipelines, monitor the environment, and explore offshore energy sources. As a result, the market for autonomous underwater vehicles in the U.S. has grown steadily.

Asia Pacific's autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) market is experiencing exponential growth driven by expanding maritime trade, offshore energy exploration, and security concerns. Key trends include increased government investment in defense applications, particularly in countries like China and South Korea, and the rise of commercial AUV applications in offshore industries such as oil and gas. Collaborations between industry players and research institutions are driving technological innovation, positioning the region as a significant contributor to the global market's growth.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market Share

Hydroid, Lockheed Martin and Saab Seaeye hold a significant market share of 27% in autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) industry, these companies possess extensive experience and expertise in developing cutting-edge AUV technology, earning them reputations for reliability, innovation, and quality. Also, their diverse product portfolios cater to various applications, including defense, offshore oil and gas, scientific research, and underwater mapping, allowing them to address a broad range of customer needs.

Additionally, strong global presence and established customer relationships further enhance their market position and enable them to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the growing AUV market. Overall, their combined strengths in technology, product offerings, and market presence solidify their dominance in this competitive industry.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market Companies

Major players operating in the autonomous underwater vehicle industry are:

  • Lockheed Martin
  • Teledyne Gavia
  • Hydroid
  • Kongsberg Maritime
  • Saab Seaeye
  • Subsea 7

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Industry News

  • In May 2024, Kraken Technology Group, a British defense contractor, joined forces with the US company BlueHalo to integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) solutions into unmanned surface and underwater systems.
  • In March 2024, the REMUS 130 was unveiled by HII. This new model of unmanned underwater vehicle, at the Oceanology International 2024 conference and exhibition. The REMUS 130 was built upon the HII REMUS series of UUVs, which were very successful and represent the third generation of REMUS 100 vehicles.
  • In February 2024, Oceaneering International, Inc. revealed that its Aerospace and Defense Technologies (ADTech) business segment secured an agreement from the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a U.S. Department of Defense entity. The contract entailed the development and testing of the Freedom Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) as a potential prototype for the U.S. Navy’s Program Office for Advanced Undersea Systems, aimed at Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (LDUUV).

The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry with estimates & forecast in terms of revenue ($Bn) and shipment (Units) from 2021 to 2032, for the following segments:

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Market, By Payload Type

  • Cameras
  • Sensors
  • Synthetic Aperture Sonar
  • Echo Sounders
  • Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers
  • Others

Market, By Type

  • Shallow AUVs
  • Medium AUVs
  • Large AUVs

Market, By Sub-system

  • Propulsion
  • Drive System
  • Collision Avoidance
  • Payloads & Imaging
  • Communication & Navigation

Market, By Application

  • Military & Defense
  • Oil & Gas
  • Environment Monitoring
  • Oceanography
  • Archaeology & Exploration
  • Search & Salvage Operation

The above information is provided for the following regions and countries:

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • UK
    • Germany
    • France
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Russia
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • India
    • Japan
    • South Korea
    • ANZ
    • Southeast Asia
    • Rest of Asia Pacific 
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Argentina
    • Rest of Latin America 
  • MEA
    • UAE
    • South Africa
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Rest of MEA


Authors: Preeti Wadhwani

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :

The market size of autonomous underwater vehicle reached USD 1.9 billion in 2023 and is set to witness 14% CAGR from 2024 to 2032, owing to the increase in reconnaissance and mine detection operations.

The acoustic doppler current profilers payload segment recorded 34% revenue share in 2023, owing to their ability to provide vital information on sea level and water velocity data.

The military & defense segment in the autonomous underwater vehicle industry accounted for 39% share in 2023 and is estimated to witness substantial gains between 2024 and 2032, as they are critical for performing naval operations, including anti-missile systems, submarine surveillance, and anti-submarine warfare.

North America market held over 39% share in 2023 and is estimated to expand at noticeable rate through 2032, due to its extensive the extensive maritime activities and defense investments in the region.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market Scope

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Premium Report Details

  • Base Year: 2023
  • Companies covered: 19
  • Tables & Figures: 320
  • Countries covered: 24
  • Pages: 270
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