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Autonomous Aircraft Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Aircraft Type (Fixed-Wind and Rotary-Wing), By Component (Hardware and Software), By Technology (Increasingly Autonomous (IA) and Fully Autonomous), By Application (Commercial Aircraft, Air Medical Service, Passenger Air Vehicle, Cargo & Delivery Aircraft, Combat and ISR, Personal Air Vehicle, and Others), and Regional Forecasts, 2020-2027

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103266



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The global autonomous aircraft market size was USD 4.56 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 16.23 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 22.68% during the forecast period.


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Autonomous aircraft are the next-generation aircraft in which no human interventions will be carried out for the aircraft operation. Now day’s automation is largely used to operate the aircraft. Companies are involved in research and development of fully autonomous products for commercial and military applications.

The advancements in technologies, specifically artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), rising operational efficiency and cost-effective solution, and reduction in human errors in this type of aircraft are the driving factors for the growth of the market. The rise in the implementation of IoT and AI-based systems have increased due to benefits such as high precision, accuracy, speed, and provide real-time data to the operators.


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Increasing Adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT for Autonomous Aircraft

Several companies are incorporating advanced concepts such as AI and IoT in autonomous aircraft. Smart AI-based solutions for designing aircraft based on data from different types of sensors and advance real-time systems are being implemented by companies such as Airbus SAS, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and others.

Among these companies, Aurora Flight Science, a subsidiary of the Boeing Company, had conducted the first test flight of all-electric autonomous passenger aircraft. The company is focusing on the concept of flying taxis by using AI and IoT based systems in the upcoming years.

Similarly, the concept of more electric aircraft is considered as the foundation for building an autonomous aircraft in the future. Moreover, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is used by the U.S. for defense applications such as for surveillance and targeting the enemy locations. In these aircraft, AI is used to self-drive the aircraft, take the required decisions during battlefield management. These technological factors will propel the growth of the market.


High Investment in Cargo and Delivery of Goods Through Autonomous Aircraft

Countries such as the U.S, Singapore, the UAE, China, and other developed countries are using this aircraft to deliver goods and services. In the case of healthcare, these aircraft are used to deliver medicines and even used during a medical emergency. Moreover, these aircraft are used as a supplier of food during natural disasters, tsunami, and other calamities.

The advanced features of this type of aircraft, such as high accuracy, reliability, speed, and cost-effective benefits, help to use these aircraft on a large scale. Thus, companies are looking forward to designing such aircraft for multipurpose applications. In addition to this, governments of various countries are supporting the development of such aircraft due to its wider applications. This will facilitate the growth of the market.                   

Reduction in Human Errors in the Autonomous Aircraft

The incorporation of AI and IoT based systems in this aircraft will drastically reduce the accidents and damages to the aircraft. Thus, increase the precision and efficiency in the operation of the aircraft. As these systems operate with advanced technology-based systems, the reduction in human errors is possible and thus drives the growth of the market.

These aircraft are monitored with the help of air traffic controllers, provide real-time data, and thus improves the accuracy of these aircraft. However, the flight testing is carried out by prominent companies by testing and verifying these aircraft before commercialization. Enabled by these factors, this market is projected to drive significantly in the forthcoming years.


Complex Design, Testing, and Certification Procedure for Autonomous Aircraft

Fully autonomous drones need designing, testing, and certification for several components and software for monitoring and situational awareness purpose. These aircraft manufacturers need to follow stringent government regulations for safety and security purposes, such as the operation of aircraft in harsh environments conditions, passenger safety, and onboard safety equipment. As these products area new concept, the developed countries have drafted various norms convenience, and companies need to design and develop these unmanned vehicles accordingly.

Additionally, the software used in these unmanned vehicles needs testing and certification for safe and secure operations according to applications. Furthermore, load-carrying capacity, limited battery life, and increasing travel distances hamper the growth of the market.


By Aircraft Type Analysis

Increasing Demand for Fixed-Wing Autonomous Aircraft to Boost the Growth of the Market

Based on aircraft type, the market is segmented into fixed-wing and rotary-wing. The rotary-wing segment holds the highest autonomous aircraft market share in the market. This is due to its capability to take-off and land vertically due to which it requires less area and thus can be used in densely populated cities. Increasing the use of rotary-wing aircraft for surveillance and combat activities drive the growth of this  segment.

The fixed-wing aircraft segment is anticipated to show significant growth during the forecast period. The growth is attributed to features such as increased operational efficiency, greater payload versatility, and enhanced aerodynamics performance. It has a twin sensor configuration, which is useful in search and rescue missions and critical military operations. The fixed-wing type has a high load-carrying capacity and can operate at high ranges.

By Component Analysis

Software Segment Will Showcase Significant Growth During the Forecast Period

Based on the component, the market is bifurcated into hardware and software. The autonomous aircraft software segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. It is owing to the rise in the software for real-time data and efficient operation. The flight management software is used to control all the operations of an unmanned vehicle. This software is used to collect and interpret data by itself as a result of which it has witnessed high demand from end-users.

Hardware segment shows moderate growth owing to the increasing advanced design and components such as motor stator, windings, advanced cooling systems, speed controllers, and among others.

By Technology Analysis

Fully AutonomousSegment Anticipated to be the Fastest-Growing Segment of the Market

Based on technology, the market is segmented into fully autonomous and increasingly autonomous (IA). The fully autonomous segment is anticipated to show significant growth during the forecast period. The growth of this technology attributed to the increasing use of fully autonomous type of  aircraft in the military as well as in the commercial sector. It reduces human intervention and improves performance in military operations and thus drives the growth of the segment. Moreover, the development of passenger drones and delivery drones propels segment growth. Increasingly autonomous type of aircraft is anticipated to grow owing to the increasing installation of autonomous components in the unmanned vehicle.

By End User Analysis

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The surge in demand for Air Ambulance for Medical Emergency Propel the Growth of Air Medical Service Segment

Based on the end-user, the market is classified into commercial aircraft, air medical service, passenger air vehicle, cargo and delivery aircraft, combat and ISR, personal air vehicle, and others. Amongst these, commercial aircraft are estimated to show significant growth owing to the use of these aircraft in urban areas for public transportation.

Air medical service shows significant growth owing to the increasing demand for an air ambulance for emergency medical services. Similarly, combat & intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) segment showcase moderate growth due to the rising use of unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance activities.


North America Autonomous Aircraft Market Size, 2019 (USD Billion)

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As per our research, North America is estimated to hold the largest share in the market and continue to dominate during the forecast period. Increasing investments in R&D and a growing number of companies will drive the growth of the market across North America. Furthermore, the presence of players in this market such as the Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, AeroVironment, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and others propels the growth of the market.

Europe's market is estimated to grow at a significant rate during the forecast period owing to the increasing demand from the military sector for combat operations and surveillance applications. Additionally, the presence of key players such as BAE Systems, Saab AB, and others drive the growth of the market across the region. As compared to other nations, European countries have better infrastructure facilities for this aircraft.

Asia Pacific will witness significant growth in the market due to increasing expenditure on the development of an advanced next-generation product from emerging economies such as China, India, and others. These are used for ISR activities, battlefield operations, search & rescue operations from the military sector, thus propels the growth of the market across Asia Pacific.

The Middle East & Africa and South America show moderate growth owing to the development of infrastructure for this type of aircraft.


Advancement in the Use of Technologies such as AI, IoT, Big Data Analytics by Key Players Drive the Growth of the Market

Increasing focus on the development of smart drone concepts, the introduction of AI, IoT based systems, and big data analytics are the latest autonomous aircraft market trends. Key players are adopted key growth strategies such as merger & acquisitions, agreements, contracts, and partnerships for business expansions. The increasing number of startup companies in designing and developing these unmanned aircraft drives the growth of the market across the globe.



  • January 2020 –Swift Tactical Systems signed a contract of worth USD 17 million Bahamas government agencies and ministries for the purchase of 55 short and medium-range drones, immediate surveillance capabilities, training and support, and the establishment of a regional drone academy.

  • August 2019–AeroVironment signed a contract worth USD 45 million with the U.S. Department of defense for Raven unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This will strengthen the partnership of the company with the U.S. Department of defense.


An Infographic Representation of Autonomous Aircraft Market

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The autonomous aircraft market research report covered a detailed analysis of the market. It focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, portfolio, and leading applications of these aircraft. Besides this, the report offers insights into the autonomous market trends and highlights key aviation industry developments. Moreover, the report comprises of several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.

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Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD billion)


By Aircraft Type

  • Fixed-Wing

  • Rotary-Wing

By Component

  • Hardware

  • Software

By Technology

  • Increasingly Autonomous (IA)

  • Fully Autonomous

By End-User

  • Commercial Aircraft

  • Air Medical Service

  • Passenger Air Vehicle

  • Cargo & Delivery Aircraft

  • Combat and ISR

  • Personal Air Vehicle

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (the U.S. and Canada)

  • Europe (the U.K., Germany, France, Russia, Sweden, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia-Pacific (Japan, China, India, Australia, and Rest of Asia-Pacific)

  • The Middle East and Africa (The UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Rest of the Middle East and Africa)

  • South America (Brazil and Rest of South America)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 4.56 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 16.23 billion by 2027.

In 2019, the market value stood at USD 4.56 billion.

The market is estimated to grow at a significant growth rate of 22.68% throughout the forecast period.

The fully autonomous segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

North America dominated the market share in 2019.

Introduction of smart drones, increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, and the internet of things (IoT) are the latest technologies used in the market.

The spread of COVID-19 across the globe has changed the overall operating scenario of the various industries. The workforce needs to follow social distancing and other safety norms while working in the company. This also has changed the scenario of this market as the primary focus of companies is workforce safety. Many companies have stopped their operations; this will hamper the growth of the market. Moreover, the companies have postponed their research and development activities and procurement contracts. This will hamper the growth of the market in the year 2020 and 2021.

According to the study, Asia-Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing region during the forecast period.

According to the study, The U.S. and Sweden are expected to be the fastest-growing countries during the forecast period.

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