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Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market

Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market Size, Share, Competitive Landscape and Trend Analysis Report by Size, by Application, by Mode of Operation : Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2023-2032

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Author's: Kartikey Verma | Lalit Janardhan Katare
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USVs Market Research Report, 2032

The global unmanned surface vehicle market size was valued at $0.92 billion in 2022, and is projected to reach $2.7 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 11.5% from 2023 to 2032.

Report Key Highlighters:

  • The unmanned surface vehicle market studies more than 15 countries. The research includes a segment analysis of each country in terms of value ($ million) for the projected period 2022-2032.
  •  The study integrated high-quality data, professional opinions and analysis, and critical independent perspectives. The research approach is intended to provide a balanced view of global markets and to assist stakeholders in making educated decisions to achieve their most ambitious growth objectives.
  • Over 3,700 product literature, annual reports, industry statements, and other comparable materials from major industry participants were reviewed to gain a better understanding of the market.
  • The unmanned surface vehicle market share is moderately fragmented, with several players including Atlas Elektronik GmbH, ECA Group, Elbit Systems Ltd., Israel Aerospace Industries, Kongsberg Maritime, L3Harris Technologies, Inc., Liquid Robotics, Maritime Robotics, SeaRobotics Corp. and Teledyne Technologies Incorporated. Key strategies such as collaboration, acquisition, investment, agreement, product launch, and other strategies of the players operating in the market are tracked and monitored.

Unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) are water vessels designed to navigate the water's surface without human crews. These vehicles are equipped with a variety of sensors, navigation systems, and communication devices, allowing them to operate autonomously or be remotely controlled from a shore-based station or another vessel. USVs come in different sizes and shapes, spanning from compact and maneuverable boats to larger vessels.. Their growing significance in diverse fields stems from their efficient and cost-effective operation across various marine and maritime applications. USVs play a crucial role in advancing marine science, enhancing maritime security, and improving commercial operations at sea.

Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market

The utilization of Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) extends extensively across military and commercial sectors. In military applications, they serve diverse roles, including border and littoral zone patrolling, submarine tracking, minesweeping operations, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, support for offensive capabilities, and acting as seaborne targets. Similarly, within the commercial domain, USVs find applications in oceanography, exploration, environmental sciences, and the oil and gas industry.

An emerging trend in the industry of unmanned naval vehicles is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), which enhances the operational effectiveness of naval combat systems by incorporating intelligent software processes into Command and Control (C2) applications. These advanced technologies hold promise for enhancing naval Combat Management Systems (CMS) to optimize targeting and the mapping of adversary assets.

Advancements in technology have significantly improved the capabilities of Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs), enhancing their reliability, efficiency, and versatility. This has generated heightened interest and investment across various sectors, including defense, maritime research, and commercial industries. Additionally, the growing emphasis on maritime safety and security, particularly in response to evolving security threats and environmental concerns, has spurred an increased demand for USVs. Their applications in surveillance, patrol, and environmental monitoring have become essential.Moreover, the cost-effectiveness of USVs, especially when compared to manned vessels due to reduced crew and operational expenses, positions them as an appealing choice for both government and commercial organizations.

Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market by Size

In addition, USVs offer substantial potential for bolstering maritime security and defense capabilities. Governments and naval forces worldwide are increasingly looking to integrate USVs into their fleets for tasks such as coastal surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, and intelligence gathering. This growing interest in military applications opens up substantial market prospects. Furthermore, USVs play a pivotal role in advancing maritime research and environmental monitoring. Oceanographic institutions and research organizations utilize USVs to collect data on ocean currents, marine life, and underwater terrain. In addition, their deployment in environmental assessments and responses to events such as oil spills underscores their significance in safeguarding marine ecosystems.

The unmanned surface vehicles market is segmented on the basis application, mode of operation, size, and region. By application, it is categorized into defense and commercial. Depending on the mode of operation, it is fragmented into Autonomous Surface Vehicle and Remotely Operated Surface Vehicle. By size, it is grouped into less than 11 meters, 11 to 26 meters, and more than 26 meters. Region-wise, the market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

Leading players and their key business strategies have been analyzed in the unmanned surface vehicle market report to gain a competitive insight into the market. Key players covered in the report include Atlas Elektronik GmbH, ECA Group, Elbit Systems Ltd., Israel Aerospace Industries, Kongsberg Maritime, L3Harris Technologies, Inc., Liquid Robotics, Maritime Robotics, SeaRobotics Corp. and Teledyne Technologies Incorporated.

North America is one of the key regions, in terms of revenue for the unmanned surface vehicle market. The increase in demand for maritime surveillance and security has been a driving force behind the adoption of USVs in the region. These autonomous or remotely operated vessels are well-suited for patrolling and monitoring coastal and offshore areas, offering enhanced situational awareness and cost-effective solutions.

Owing to the increase in enthusiasm for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) in the realm of scientific exploration and environmental surveillance, researchers and institutions harness these autonomous vessels to gather information regarding oceanography, marine biology, and climate change. USVs offer a safer and more efficient means of accessing remote or hazardous regions when compared to conventional approaches. The North American market benefits from a supportive regulatory environment, as government agencies are recognizing their potential benefits and are actively working on guidelines and standards for their integration into maritime operations. This regulatory support is likely to fuel further growth and investment in the sector.

In addition, the commercial sector has witnessed a surge in the use of USVs for applications such as shipping, logistics, and offshore energy operations. These vehicles are now commonly used for activities such as transporting cargo, conducting offshore inspections, and even maintaining offshore wind farms. This contributes to enhancing operational efficiency and safety.

Europe comprises nations like the UK, Germany, Spain, France, along with other European countries. The additional European countries consist of Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Russia, and Norway. The European region is experiencing growth due to the rising need for maritime security in European waters, leading to an increased demand for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs). Moreover, USVs are valuable tools in search and rescue missions, as they can access remote or dangerous areas and assist in locating & rescuing individuals in distress at sea.

Europe's commitment to environmental sustainability is a major driver for the USV market. In addition, the European Union's initiatives to boost research and innovation in maritime technologies, such as Horizon Europe and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, provide funding and support for USV development and deployment projects, further propelling market growth in the region.

Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market by Application

Rise in demand for Ocean data Mapping

As industries such as marine research, offshore energy, environmental monitoring, and maritime security require increasingly detailed and accurate information about the world's oceans, the limitations of traditional data collection methods have become apparent. In response, unmanned surface vehicles have stepped in as versatile and efficient tools for ocean data mapping. These autonomous or remotely operated vehicles are equipped with advanced sensors, sonar systems, and imaging technology that enable them to navigate vast oceanic expanses while collecting intricate geospatial and environmental data.

Moreover, the collaboration between a renowned oceanographic institution and a technology company, utilizing Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) for an extensive underwater survey in a previously unexplored area of the Pacific Ocean, is a significant catalyst for the unmanned surface vehicle market. Specifically, in October 2020, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) successfully secured a $500,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM) program. The grant aims to facilitate the development of machine learning tools intended to enhance assessments of air-sea heat exchange in the Arctic Ocean and nearby seas. Saildrone unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) will be utilized for this purpose. These USVs are anticipated to operate in ice-covered areas of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, gathering crucial data on air-sea interactions in these challenging-to-navigate ocean regions. The ultimate goal is to improve the precision of ice and weather forecasts in the specified region.

Increasing Maritime Security and Surveillance

The growing significance of maritime security and surveillance stands as a key driver for the expansion of the unmanned surface vehicle (USV) market. As nations contend with the complexities of securing their maritime borders, countering illicit activities like smuggling and piracy, and addressing environmental threats, the shortcomings of traditional surveillance approaches have become apparent. Unmanned surface vehicles offer a robust solution by autonomously patrolling extensive maritime areas, collecting real-time data through various sensors and cameras, and transmitting information to command centers for prompt decision-making. This heightened situational awareness not only accelerates response times but also reduces risks to human personnel.

For instance, in December 2021, the U.S. Navy utilized the Sea-Hunter, a Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MUSV), under its Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS). The deployment involved conducting routine training exercises near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. By successfully detecting and intercepting unauthorized vessels while maintaining a continuous presence in challenging conditions, these USVs underscored their pivotal role in fortifying maritime security. Consequently, the unmanned surface vehicle market is positioned to thrive as more stakeholders recognize the efficiency and efficacy of these advanced autonomous platforms in addressing the evolving complexities of maritime surveillance.

Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market by Mode of Operation

Development of collision avoidance systems and networking issues

While the advancement of collision avoidance technology is crucial for enhancing the safety and reliability of USVs, its complexity and integration pose hurdles. The intricate task of creating effective collision avoidance systems that accurately detect and respond to various obstacles in diverse maritime environments demands substantial research and development efforts, potentially delaying the unmanned surface vehicle market growth.

In addition, USVs rely heavily on communication networks to transmit data, receive commands, and interact with control centers. However, maintaining reliable and uninterrupted connectivity in remote or congested areas, as well as dealing with potential cybersecurity threats, hinders the seamless operation of USVs. Network latency and bandwidth limitations affect real-time data transmission, potentially undermining the efficiency of USV missions.

These challenges have been evident in instances where USV operations were delayed or compromised due to collision avoidance system calibration difficulties or unexpected network disruptions. Such incidents not only emphasize the technical intricacies of developing these systems but also underscore the need for robust solutions to networking challenges.

Limited Endurance and Range Constrain Unmanned Surface Vehicle Applications

USVs are designed to operate autonomously or remotely for various tasks, including data collection, surveillance, environmental monitoring, and more. However, the effectiveness of these applications is inherently tied to the USVs' ability to cover substantial distances and endure extended missions. The constraint of limited endurance refers to the finite operational time a USV achieve before needing to refuel, recharge, or undergo maintenance. Similarly, the limitation in range refers to the distance a USV travel before its power source or communication link becomes inadequate. Both factors impact the efficiency and feasibility of USV operations, especially in scenarios where continuous monitoring, data collection, or extended patrolling is required.

Efforts are underway to address these limitations. Advances in battery technology, alternative power sources (such as solar panels), and more efficient propulsion systems extend the endurance and range of USVs. In addition, developing better mission planning algorithms to optimize routes and operations based on available power and communication resources help mitigate these constraints.

Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market by Region

Increased capital expenditure of companies in offshore oil and gas industry

The offshore oil and gas sector requires efficient and cost-effective solutions for exploration, maintenance, and monitoring of installations in often challenging and remote marine environments. Traditional methods often involve high human labor and operational costs, as well as potential safety risks. The trend toward higher capital expenditure in this industry presents a unique opportunity for USVs to showcase their value proposition. These autonomous or remotely operated vehicles perform a wide range of tasks such as pipeline inspections, structural assessments, environmental monitoring, and equipment maintenance. By deploying USVs, companies enhance their operational efficiency, reduce risks to human personnel, and collect accurate data with improved precision and consistency.

Instead of sending divers or crewed vessels for routine inspections or repairs, USVs navigate and carry out these tasks autonomously, equipped with specialized sensors and tools. For instance, in July 2023, Electric remotely operated vehicles (eROVs) that perform maintenance and repair tasks on offshore wind turbines are being developed by the National Robotarium in partnership with geo-data specialist Fugro. Deployed from Fugro’s uncrewed surface vessels (USVs), the companies say they are working together to explore how the offshore energy sector benefit from advances in this kind of autonomous technology.

Russia-Ukraine War Impact

The Russia-Ukraine war has a complex impact on the unmanned surface vehicles (USV) market. Increased geopolitical tensions and security concerns in the Black Sea region and other waterways have led to a rise in demand for USVs in military and defense applications. The surge in defense-related contracts and investments has stimulated growth in the USV market, particularly in the development of more robust and specialized military-grade USVs. For instance, in August 2023, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that a Ukrainian Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) made attempts to attack Russian ships in the Black Sea. The long-term trajectory of the USV market is expected to depend on the resolution of geopolitical tensions and the ability of industry stakeholders to adapt to the changing landscape.

Recent Developments in Unmanned Surface Vehicle Industry

  • In March 2022, Kongsberg Maritime is pleased to announce the launch of the EM 712 USV, a new multibeam echosounder for use with Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV). The latest addition to KM's market-leading EM 712 family of shallow- to medium-water multibeam echosounders for seabed mapping applications.
  • In February 2022, ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK signed contract with DE&S Mine Hunting Capability (MHC) Team to deliver ARCIMS uncrewed surface vessel mine hunting system for the UK Royal Navy.
  • In March 2022, ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD. launched Seagull Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) it operates autonomously in a busy maritime environment and to overcome communication challenges.
  • In January 2021, Elbit Systems Ltd. received a contract to supply SeagullTM. USVs (Unmanned Surface Vehicles) to the Navy of a country in Asia-Pacific. It will be performed over a 17-month period..
  • In November 2021, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and EDGE Group entered in partnership. The companies are expected to work together for development of a first-in-class series of 17m unmanned surface vessels (USV) for military and commercial applications..
  • In June 2020, Kongsberg Maritime AS signed a contract with Subsea Innovation, specifically designed to handle remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) from unmanned vessels. Through this using unmanned vessels to reduce operational costs and increase safety.

Key Benefits For Stakeholders

  • This report provides a quantitative analysis of the market segments, current trends, estimations, and dynamics of the unmanned surface vehicle market analysis from 2022 to 2032 to identify the prevailing unmanned surface vehicle market opportunities.
  • The market research is offered along with information related to key drivers, restraints, and opportunities.
  • Porter's five forces analysis highlights the potency of buyers and suppliers to enable stakeholders make profit-oriented business decisions and strengthen their supplier-buyer network.
  • In-depth analysis of the unmanned surface vehicle market segmentation assists to determine the prevailing market opportunities.
  • Major countries in each region are mapped according to their revenue contribution to the global market.
  • Market player positioning facilitates benchmarking and provides a clear understanding of the present position of the market players.
  • The report includes the analysis of the regional as well as global unmanned surface vehicle market trends, key players, market segments, application areas, and market growth strategies.

Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market Report Highlights

Aspects Details
Market Size By 2032

USD 2.7 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 11.5%

Forecast period

2022 - 2032

Report Pages


By Size
  • Less than 11 Meters
  • 11 to 26 Meters
  • More than 26 Meters
By Application
  • Defense
  • Commercial
By Mode of Operation
  • Autonomous Surface Vehicle
  • Remotely Operated Surface Vehicle
By Region
  • North America  (U.S., Canada, Mexico)
  • Europe  (UK, Germany, Spain, France, Rest of Europe)
  • Asia-Pacific  (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Rest of Asia-Pacific)
  • LAMEA  (Latin America, Middle East, Africa)
Key Market Players

Liquid Robotics, Teledyne Technologies Incorporated, SeaRobotics Corp., ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD., Israel Aerospace Industries, Maritime Robotics, ECA Group., Atlas Elektronik GmbH, Kongsberg Maritime AS, L3Harris Technologies, Inc.

Author Name(s) : Kartikey Verma | Lalit Janardhan Katare
Frequently Asked Questions?

The global unmanned surface vehicle market was valued at $923.1 million in 2022, and is projected to reach $2,679.9 million by 2032, registering a CAGR of 11.5% from 2023 to 2032

The major companies operating in the market include Atlas Elektronik GmbH, ECA Group, Elbit Systems Ltd., Israel Aerospace Industries, Kongsberg Maritime, L3Harris Technologies, Inc., Liquid Robotics, Maritime Robotics, SeaRobotics Corp. and Teledyne Technologies Incorporated.

The largest regional market for Unmanned Surface Vehicle is North America.

The leading application of Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market is defense.

The upcoming trends of Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market in the world are Increased capital expenditure of companies in offshore oil and gas industry, and development of an unmanned surface vehicle for autonomous navigation in a paddy field.

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Unmanned Surface Vehicle Market

Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2023-2032