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The global autonomous ships market size is expected to reach USD13.4 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 13.5% over the forecast period, according to a new study conducted by Grand View Research, Inc. Autonomous ships use several systems and components including sensors, propulsion systems, and intelligent navigation systems involving the use to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). Use of such systems reduces the operational cost of ships, which is one of the key factors driving the market growth.

Autonomous ships offer several direct and indirect benefits. Direct benefits can be listed at the level of vessel that include more efficient use of crew and their skills, more efficient use of ship space, and increased fuel efficiency. Shipping companies would witness a positive effect in terms of revenue with autonomous applications as a result of reduction in cost of employing sailors along with the increased cargo space on the vessel. Moreover, autonomous shipping permits improved optimization of processes and operations. Real-time data is used for optimizing the operations thereby providing economies of scale at the company’s level. Additionally, service quality and safety during the fleet would be highly improved through the use of autonomous shipping.

Shipping companies are increasingly investing in developing and testing the practical applications of autonomous ships to gain insights on the possible lags in critical applications of these vessels, such as defense. Although huge amount of time would be invested in simulation and testing of unmanned vessels across critical applications, maritime system and service providers are developing advanced and intelligent maritime systems to be deployed in these unmanned ships. The growing acceptance of remotely controlled systems and software coupled with increasing investment in autonomous maritime environment is expected to provide several growth avenues for the autonomous ships market.

Furthermore, advent of autonomous shipping would pave the way for new suppliers, especially the suppliers of hardware and software system and technology suppliers in the maritime industry. Additionally, the unmanned ships require less reaction time in performance of systems as compared to systems used in cars and airplanes. Therefore, marine industry becomes more lucrative for system and software suppliers to enter. However, stringent regulatory environment pertaining to the use of autonomous vessels makes maritime industry a tough business environment to enter.

Further Key findings from the study suggest:

  • The fully autonomous ships segment is expected to register a CAGR of more than 17% over the forecast period, owing to the reduced manpower in autonomous shipping environment
  • The systems and solutions segment held the largest market share in 2018, primarily due to the increased deployment of these systems in multi-purpose vessels
  • The commercial segment dominated the autonomous ships market in 2018 and is expected to hold the largest revenue share by 2025, owing to the safety and ease in deployment of autonomous systems in commercial vessels
  • Asia Pacific is expected to account for the highest market share, followed by Europe, by 2025 owing to the high investments in R&D of autonomous maritime environment across countries, especially China
  • ABB, Rolls-Royce, Wartsila, Kongsberg Gruppen, Rh Marine, L3 ASV, and Siemens are some of the key players operating in the market