Underwater Drone Market Report by Type (Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), Hybrid Vehicles), Product Type (Micro, Small and Medium, Light Work-Class, Heavy Work-Class), Propulsion System (Electric System, Mechanical System, Hybrid System), Application (Defence and Security, Scientific Research, Commercial Exploration, and Others), and Region 2024-2032

Underwater Drone Market Report by Type (Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), Hybrid Vehicles), Product Type (Micro, Small and Medium, Light Work-Class, Heavy Work-Class), Propulsion System (Electric System, Mechanical System, Hybrid System), Application (Defence and Security, Scientific Research, Commercial Exploration, and Others), and Region 2024-2032

Report Format: PDF+Excel | Report ID: SR112024A6169
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Underwater Drone Market Size:

The global underwater drone market size reached US$ 4.1 Billion in 2023. Looking forward, IMARC Group expects the market to reach US$ 8.7 Billion by 2032, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% during 2024-2032. The expanding applications in marine research, defense, and commercial sectors, rapid technological advancements, rising demand for underwater exploration, surveillance, and environmental monitoring, coupled with the emergence of underwater tourism and rental services and the increasing investments and collaborations, are fueling the market expansion.

Report Attribute
 Key Statistics
Base Year
2023
Forecast Years
2024-2032
Historical Years
2018-2023
Market Size in 2023 US$ 4.1 Billion
Market Forecast in 2032 US$ 8.7 Billion
Market Growth Rate (2024-2032) 8.7%


Underwater Drone Market Analysis:

  • Major Market Drivers: Several factors are supporting the global underwater drone market growth, including the growing interest in deep-sea minerals and biotic resources increased the demand for cutting-edge underwater exploration solutions. Additionally, security risks associated with the maritime borders have fueled the need for drones in order to perform surveillance and reconnaissance missions underwater, which is boosting the market growth. Furthermore, there are initiatives to use drones for environmental monitoring and protection, as they can track pollutants and study marine ecosystems without risking human lives, which is accelerating the market growth. In line with this, the development of battery technology and data processing abilities allow for longer missions and more thorough analysis, expanding the applications and driving the underwater drone market share.  
  • Key Market Trends: The escalating use of artificial intelligence (AI) in underwater drones for improving navigation and data collection in challenging underwater environments is one of the primary key market trends. There is a tendency for miniaturizing, which results in making drones smaller and more comfortable to reach tight spaces. Furthermore, the improvements in drones that enables their use in advanced algorithms for more independent operations is further driving the underwater drone demand. Apart from this, the integration of developed sensors and cameras in the drones to make the quality of imagery clearer and more detailed and the development of hybrid systems that can work in water and on the surface are fostering the market growth. The market is also driven by the collaboration between underwater technology providers and exploration companies.
  • Geographical Trends: As per the underwater drone market analysis, at present, North America dominates the global market of underwater drones. It is mainly determined by the prominent technological base in the region, as well as massive investments in defense and research. Moreover, North America is home to many major companies in the field of drone technology, ensuring its position in the market. Furthermore, the U.S. authorities have started paying increased attention to the development of maritime security and the investigation of maritime resources. However, the Asia-Pacific region is also gaining momentum, as the rise in maritime activities and advanced technologies in China and Japan in particular may change the current situation in the upcoming years.
  • Competitive Landscape: As per the underwater drone market report, some of the key companies include ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH (thyssenkrupp AG), Blueye Robotics, Deep Ocean Engineering Inc., Deep Trekker Inc. (Halma plc), General Dynamics Corporation, iBubble, Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Oceaneering International Inc., Saab Seaeye Limited (Saab AB), Teledyne Marine (Teledyne Technologies Incorporated), The Boeing Company, etc.
  • Challenges and Opportunities: The underwater drone market faces several challenges, including high costs associated with research and development (R&D) and manufacturing of advanced drone systems. Technical challenges in ensuring reliable communication and operation in deep-water environments also persist. However, these challenges present significant opportunities for innovation, such as the development of new communication technologies or power solutions that could extend drone operational ranges and capabilities. Additionally, there is a growing opportunity in commercial sectors such as oil and gas, environmental monitoring, and marine research, where underwater drones can provide cost-effective and efficient solutions compared to traditional methods, which are further driving the underwater drone market outlook.
     

Global Underwater Drone Market


Underwater Drone Market Trends:

Expanding Use in Marine Research and Exploration

Underwater drones are critical to the marine research and exploration process. For instance, in 2024, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the nonprofit Ocean Discovery League (ODL) signed a formal agreement to work together on a moonshot goal: to speed deep-ocean exploration by creating low-cost tools and technology, such as deep-sea cameras and underwater drones, so that the public and thousands more scientists can have access to explore the deep ocean. The underwater drones allow the scientists and researchers to examine more information about the ocean ecosystem, the behavior of marine animals, and numerology about the ocean. These drones assist in conducting studies that were never possible before. For example, the drones are built with sensors and imaging systems, offering data that is valuable to the understanding of the ocean, the biodiversity of the ocean, and how human activities affect the marine environment.

Rising Demand in Defense and Security Applications

The rising product demand across military and defense agencies to undertake military-related trends and maritime border surveillance missions is one of the primary factors supporting the underwater drone market industry. It is largely used for performing various tasks in military operations, such as underwater mine detection and maritime border surveillance. Drones provide a cost-effective and efficient solution to monitoring waterways, coastal regions, and maritime boundaries of strategic importance. With advancements in sensor technology and underwater communication systems, underwater drones play a crucial role in safeguarding maritime assets, protecting national interests, and ensuring maritime domain awareness in both peacetime and conflict scenarios.

Commercial Sector Adoption for Offshore Operations

Underwater drones are also increasingly used for various offshore-related operations in the commercial sector, such as oil and gas exploration, complex underwater pipeline inspection, and marine salvage operations. They allow companies to develop a better understanding of the underwater environment quickly and effectively, within less time and at a lower risk as compared with human diving and various other traditional drones. Through the use of high-resolution camera systems and sensors mounted within the drones, companies can explore potential oil and gas reserves, deploy maintenance on pipelines, and assess its structural integrity within underwater. As part of the commercial sector, using underwater drones significantly lowers the costs associated with using human divers, decreases operational risks, and ensures operational compliance with regulations.

Underwater Drone Industry Segmentation:

IMARC Group provides an analysis of the key trends in each segment of the market, along with forecasts at the global, regional, and country levels for 2024-2032. Our report has categorized the market based on the type, product type, propulsion system, and application.

Breakup by Type:

  • Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
  • Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV)
  • Hybrid Vehicles
     

Remotely operated vehicle (ROV)accounts for the majority of the market share

The report has provided a detailed breakup and analysis of the market based on the type. This includes remotely operated vehicle (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), and hybrid vehicles. According to the report, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) represented the largest segment.

The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) segment is driven by the increasing demand across multiple industries, particularly in offshore oil and gas exploration and production. ROVs play a crucial role in conducting subsea inspections, maintenance, and repair operations in deepwater oil fields, where human divers face significant safety risks and operational challenges. Their ability to operate at various depths and navigate complex underwater environments makes them indispensable tools for inspecting offshore infrastructure, such as pipelines, rigs, and subsea installations. Additionally, the expanding use of ROVs in underwater construction projects, including cable laying, seabed mapping, and installation of offshore wind farms, further drives market growth. Moreover, the defense and maritime security sectors are increasingly deploying ROVs for tasks such as mine clearance, harbor security, and search and rescue operations, bolstering market demand. Furthermore, advancements in ROV technology, such as improved maneuverability, enhanced sensors, and real-time data transmission capabilities, are expanding their applications in scientific research, oceanography, and environmental monitoring efforts.

Breakup by Product Type:

  • Micro
  • Small and Medium
  • Light Work-Class
  • Heavy Work-Class
     

The report has provided a detailed breakup and analysis of the market based on the product type. This includes micro, small and medium, light work-class, and heavy work-class.

The micro underwater drone segment is driven by the increasing demand for compact and agile drones for shallow-water exploration, environmental monitoring, and recreational activities. These drones are equipped with lightweight sensors and cameras, enabling users to explore confined underwater spaces with ease and precision, making them ideal for scientific research, underwater photography, and educational purposes. Moreover, advancements in miniaturization technology and battery efficiency are expanding the capabilities of micro underwater drones, making them accessible to a wider range of users for various applications.

The small and medium underwater drone segment is driven by the growing need for versatile and cost-effective solutions for underwater surveys, inspections, and surveillance tasks in both commercial and defense sectors. Furthermore, the integration of advanced sensors, navigation systems, and communication technologies enables small and medium underwater drones to perform complex tasks autonomously, thereby increasing their efficiency and reliability in challenging underwater environments.

The light work-class underwater drone segment is driven by the increasing demand for robust and scalable solutions for underwater construction, maintenance, and intervention activities in offshore oil and gas, renewable energy, and maritime industries. Additionally, advancements in robotic manipulation, propulsion systems, and real-time monitoring capabilities are enhancing the capabilities and operational efficiency of light work-class underwater drones, making them indispensable tools for underwater engineering and construction projects worldwide.

The heavy work-class underwater drone segment is driven by the growing need for high-performance and heavy-lifting capabilities for deep-sea exploration, subsea mining, and offshore construction projects. These drones are equipped with powerful thrusters, rugged construction, and advanced control systems, enabling them to operate at extreme depths and carry out demanding tasks such as deep-sea mining, offshore platform installation, and subsea infrastructure maintenance.

Breakup by Propulsion System:

  • Electric System
  • Mechanical System
  • Hybrid System
     

Electric system accounts for the majority of the market share

The report has provided a detailed breakup and analysis of the market based on the propulsion system. This includes electric system, mechanical system, and hybrid system. According to the report, electric system represented the largest segment.

The electric system segment is driven by the increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and the rapid electrification of various industries. One key factor propelling this growth is the global push towards sustainable transportation solutions to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. Governments worldwide are implementing stringent regulations and incentives to promote the adoption of electric vehicles, driving the demand for electric propulsion systems. Moreover, advancements in battery technology, such as the development of high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries and solid-state batteries, are extending the range and improving the performance of electric vehicles, thereby boosting the demand for electric powertrains and energy management systems. Additionally, the declining cost of battery production and the establishment of robust charging infrastructure networks are further incentivizing consumers to switch to EVs, driving the growth of the electric system segment. Furthermore, the electrification of other industries, such as aerospace, marine, and construction, is creating new opportunities for electric propulsion systems and power distribution solutions.

Breakup by Application:

  • Defence and Security
  • Scientific Research
  • Commercial Exploration
  • Others
     

Defence & security accounts for the majority of the market share

The report has provided a detailed breakup and analysis of the market based on the application. This includes defence and security, scientific research, commercial exploration, and others. According to the report, defence & security represented the largest segment.

The defence & security segment is driven by the increasing need for advanced technologies to enhance maritime security and protect national interests in a rapidly evolving geopolitical landscape. One key factor propelling this segment is the rising maritime threats, including piracy, smuggling, and maritime terrorism, which necessitate robust surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Underwater drones play a crucial role in addressing these challenges by providing persistent monitoring of strategic waterways, coastal regions, and maritime borders, thus bolstering situational awareness and early threat detection. Furthermore, the growing emphasis on maritime domain awareness and the need to safeguard critical maritime assets, such as ports, offshore installations, and naval vessels, are driving the adoption of underwater drones for maritime security operations. Moreover, the increasing deployment of underwater drones for underwater mine detection and neutralization tasks is driven by the ongoing global efforts to mitigate the risks posed by sea mines to naval operations and commercial shipping routes. Apart from this, advancements in underwater drone technology, including improved sensors, autonomous navigation systems, and communication capabilities, are enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of defense and security operations in underwater environments.

Breakup by Region:

  • North America
    • United States
    • Canada
  • Asia-Pacific
    • China
    • Japan
    • India
    • South Korea
    • Australia
    • Indonesia
    • Others
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • France
    • United Kingdom
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Russia
    • Others
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Others
  • Middle East and Africa
     

North America leads the market, accounting for the largest underwater drone market share

The report has also provided a comprehensive analysis of all the major regional markets, which include North America (the United States and Canada); Europe (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Russia, and others); Asia Pacific (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and others); Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, and others); and the Middle East and Africa. According to the report, North America represents the largest regional market for underwater drone.

The North America regional market is driven by the increasing adoption of underwater drones across various sectors, propelled by advanced technological capabilities and a robust regulatory framework. In the defense and security sector, heightened concerns over maritime border security, underwater threats, and illegal activities drive the demand for underwater drones for surveillance, reconnaissance, and mine detection purposes. Moreover, the presence of leading defense contractors and research institutions fosters innovation and development in underwater drone technology, further propelling market growth. Additionally, the commercial sector in North America is witnessing significant growth in the adoption of underwater drones for offshore operations, including oil and gas exploration, underwater infrastructure inspection, and marine salvage activities. The region's extensive coastline, abundant offshore resources, and stringent safety regulations drive the demand for efficient and reliable underwater drone solutions. Furthermore, the North American market benefits from strong government support and investments in marine research, ocean exploration, and environmental conservation efforts, driving the deployment of underwater drones for scientific research, habitat monitoring, and pollution detection

Competitive Landscape:

  • The market research report has also provided a comprehensive analysis of the competitive landscape in the market. Detailed profiles of all major companies have also been provided. Some of the major market players in the underwater drone industry include ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH (thyssenkrupp AG), Blueye Robotics, Deep Ocean Engineering Inc., Deep Trekker Inc. (Halma plc), General Dynamics Corporation, iBubble, Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Oceaneering International Inc., Saab Seaeye Limited (Saab AB), Teledyne Marine (Teledyne Technologies Incorporated), The Boeing Company, etc.

    (Please note that this is only a partial list of the key players, and the complete list is provided in the report.)
     
  • Key players in the underwater drone market are engaged in a range of strategic initiatives to maintain and enhance their market positions. These initiatives include investments in research and development (R&D) to advance technological capabilities, such as improving sensor accuracy, extending operational range, and enhancing autonomous navigation systems. Additionally, players are focusing on expanding their product portfolios to cater to diverse applications across sectors like defense, commercial, and scientific research. Collaborations and partnerships with government agencies, research institutions, and other industry stakeholders are also common strategies aimed at driving innovation, accessing new markets, and establishing standards and regulations for the industry. Furthermore, market players are actively pursuing mergers and acquisitions to consolidate their market presence, gain access to complementary technologies, and expand their customer base. Marketing and promotional activities, including participation in industry events, exhibitions, and conferences, are undertaken to increase brand visibility and market awareness. Moreover, players are investing in customer support services, training programs, and after-sales maintenance to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. 


Underwater Drone Market News:

  • In 2023: Deep Trekker Inc. introduced the DTG3 ROV, an upgraded version of its remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) series. The DTG3 features enhanced maneuverability, improved imaging capabilities, and extended battery life, catering to the growing demand for cost-effective and reliable underwater inspection solutions.
  • In January 2024: Teledyne Marine acquired a new Gavia Osprey AUV by the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). NIOZ is the Netherlands' national oceanographic institute conducting multidisciplinary applied marine research to address major scientific questions about our oceans and seas. NIOZ acquired the Teledyne Gavia Osprey AUV to add to its ever-growing fleet to be used in scientific projects, like understanding the significant impacts of climate change on the seas and oceans, such as temperature increase and acidification.


Underwater Drone Market Report Scope:

Report Features Details
Base Year of the Analysis 2023
Historical Period 2018-2023
Forecast Period 2024-2032
Units US$ Billion
Scope of the Report Exploration of Historical Trends and Market Outlook, Industry Catalysts and Challenges, Segment-Wise Historical and Future Market Assessment:
  • Type
  • Product Type
  • Propulsion System
  • Application
  • Region
Types Covered Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), Hybrid Vehicles
Product Types Covered Micro, Small and Medium, Light Work-Class, Heavy Work-Class
Propulsion Systems Covered Electric System, Mechanical System, Hybrid System
Applications Covered Defence and Security, Scientific Research, Commercial Exploration, Others
Regions Covered Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East and Africa
Countries Covered United States, Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Russia, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico
Companies Covered ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH (thyssenkrupp AG), Blueye Robotics, Deep Ocean Engineering Inc., Deep Trekker Inc. (Halma plc), General Dynamics Corporation, iBubble, Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Oceaneering International Inc., Saab Seaeye Limited (Saab AB), Teledyne Marine (Teledyne Technologies Incorporated), The Boeing Company, etc.
Customization Scope 10% Free Customization
Report Price and Purchase Option Single User License: US$ 3899
Five User License: US$ 4899
Corporate License: US$ 5899
Post-Sale Analyst Support 10-12 Weeks
Delivery Format PDF and Excel through Email (We can also provide the editable version of the report in PPT/Word format on special request)


Key Benefits for Stakeholders:

  • IMARC’s industry report offers a comprehensive quantitative analysis of various market segments, historical and current market trends, market forecasts, and dynamics of the underwater drone market from 2018-2032.
  • The research report provides the latest information on the market drivers, challenges, and opportunities in the global underwater drone market.
  • The study maps the leading, as well as the fastest-growing, regional markets. It further enables stakeholders to identify the key country-level markets within each region.
  • Porter's five forces analysis assists stakeholders in assessing the impact of new entrants, competitive rivalry, supplier power, buyer power, and the threat of substitution. It helps stakeholders to analyze the level of competition within the underwater drone industry and its attractiveness.
  • The competitive landscape allows stakeholders to understand their competitive environment and provides insight into the current positions of key players in the market.

Key Questions Answered in This Report

The global underwater drone market was valued at US$ 4.1 Billion in 2023.

We expect the global underwater drone market to exhibit a CAGR of 8.7% during 2024-2032.

The rising demand for underwater drones to detect wrecks and rocks submerged in the sea, predict waterborne accidents, analyze wave currents and visual dead zones, etc., is primarily driving the global underwater drone market.

The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had led to the implementation of stringent lockdown regulations across several nations, resulting in the temporary closure of numerous manufacturing units for underwater drones.

Based on the type, the global underwater drone market can be categorized into Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), and hybrid vehicles. Currently, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) holds the majority of the total market share.

Based on the propulsion system, the global underwater drone market has been segregated into electric system, mechanical system, and hybrid system. Among these, electric system currently exhibits a clear dominance in the market.

Based on the application, the global underwater drone market can be bifurcated into defence and security, scientific research, commercial exploration, and others. Currently, defence and security accounts for the largest market share.

On a regional level, the market has been classified into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East and Africa, where North America currently dominates the global market.

Some of the major players in the global underwater drone market include ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH (thyssenkrupp AG), Blueye Robotics, Deep Ocean Engineering Inc., Deep Trekker Inc. (Halma plc), General Dynamics Corporation, iBubble, Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Oceaneering International Inc., Saab Seaeye Limited (Saab AB), Teledyne Marine (Teledyne Technologies Incorporated), and The Boeing Company.

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Underwater Drone Market Report by Type (Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), Hybrid Vehicles), Product Type (Micro, Small and Medium, Light Work-Class, Heavy Work-Class), Propulsion System (Electric System, Mechanical System, Hybrid System), Application (Defence and Security, Scientific Research, Commercial Exploration, and Others), and Region 2024-2032
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