Autopilot Systems Market size is estimated to grow at a significant CAGR between 2020 and 2026 led by escalating demand for flight automation, coupled with rising need of operational safety in aviation. Research and development efforts towards advancement of flight technologies such as autopilot systems in recent years have observed a significant surge, supported by increasing investments for automation, which has generated several lucrative growth prospects for the industry.
Autopilot systems are an integral part of modern flight management systems. These systems consist of tools or software than can help operate the aircraft autonomously in certain conditions, using the mechanical, hydraulic and electronic systems of the vehicle. The ability to stabilize speed, location and height of the aircraft heading, as well as robust functioning in poor visibility conditions or during flight system malfunctions is likely boost the market penetration.
The rising prevalence of automation in the aviation industry is emerging as a key trend influencing autopilot system industry outlook. Automation of flight operations has several benefits, including enhanced security as well as major savings in terms of manual labor, which in turn helps in lowering airfare to a significant extent. Flight automation technologies such as autopilot systems also help increase the overall efficiency of the aircraft.
Most modern aircrafts have integrated technologies such as autopilot systems which can help enhance pilots’ actions, control and operate flights, manage engine power, detect and forecast weather conditions, thereby reducing risk of mid-air collisions, and even complete landings in certain cases. The increasing propensity towards flight automation, enhanced fuel efficiency, safer cruising, and overall reduction in operating costs are the major drivers contributing to autopilot systems market expansion in the forthcoming years.
GPS systems are a popular component of the autopilot system industry. Most aircrafts and other vehicles are fitted with a GPS unit that enables the accurate location of the aircraft’s position, by measuring its distance from various satellites within the network. This navigation system allows the autopilot system to expand its capabilities beyond maintaining a straight trajectory for the aircraft, enabling it to plan and implement a full flight route, which could spell significant advancement for market dynamics from the segment.
The global autopilot systems industry is strengthened by the presence of prominent players including Honeywell International, Genesys Aerosystems, Cloud Cap Technology, Lockheed Martin, Comnav Marine, Navico Group(Altor Equity Partners) , Rockwell Collins (United Technologies), Century Flight Systems, Cobham PLC (Advent International), Garmin, TMQ International, BAE Systems, Furuno, DJI ( iFlight Technology Company Limited), Airware, Raymarine (FLIR Systems), Raytheon (United Technologies Corporation), Trimble Navigation and Micropilot.
Mergers & acquisitions, technological developments, and partnerships are among the major strategic maneuvers undertaken by these industry players, to retain a prominent position in the global market space.
For instance, Honeywell has entered into a technological partnership with Switzerland-based startup Daedalean.ai, in an effort to develop autonomous takeoff and landing technologies, collision avoidance systems for GA (general aviation), electrical VTOL aircrafts and GPS-independent navigation systems, among others.
Safran Electronic & Defense has made a similar move, by partnering with HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) for three new contracts pertaining to the design and manufacture of autopilot systems for myriad helicopter models. The Safran-designed autopilot technologies will offer state-of-the-art integration and development capabilities to the HAL helicopters, replacing existing integration and test benches and establishing software workshop in order to create and validate the necessary control laws for autopilot usage.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant setback to the aviation industry, with passenger traffic numbers witnessing a drastic decline owing to nationwide lockdowns put into effect across the globe. However, the aviation industry is working on easing its way out of the dire situation brought forth by the pandemic, by implementing several new changes to air travel dynamics.
One of these changes is the introduction of touch-free technologies across various aspects of aviation operations for instance, robotic cleaners for airports, disinfection of ticket kiosks and check-in counters, hand-gesture powered technologies for overhead stowage and entertainment systems within the aircrafts, and more.
Prominent players like Honeywell are already making strides in this regard, by initiating talks with airports and airlines about the implementation of safety equipment and technologies such as infrared cameras, UV-light robots and air-quality sensors. These prospective advancements could bring air traffic to normalcy once the effects of the crisis begin to abate, thus paving the way to recovery for the aviation domain and its peripherals such as the autopilot systems market.