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Autonomous Aircraft Market Size, Share, Russia-Ukraine War Impact Analysis, By Aircraft Type (Fixed-Wing and Rotary-Wing), By Component (Radars & Transponders, Propulsion Systems, Actuation System, Air Data Inertial Reference Units, Flight Management Computers, and Others), By Technology (Increasingly Autonomous (IA) and Fully Autonomous), By End User (Air Medical Service, Commercial Aircraft, Defense, Cargo & Delivery Aircraft, and Others), and Regional Forecasts, 2023-2030

Last Updated: July 08, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103266



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The global autonomous aircraft market size was valued at USD 6.28 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 7.20 billion in 2023 to USD 22.71 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 17.8% during the forecast period. North America dominated the autonomous aircraft market with a market share of 37.74% in 2022.


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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 a day’s, automation is largely used to operate 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 aircraft are the driving factors for market growth. The rise in 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.

Russia-Ukraine War Impact

Russia Ukraine War boosted the Usage of Autonomous aircraft & Drones for Various Military Operations

Russia and Ukraine have used a variety of military and commercial drones since the start of the war. Both sides have used drones in a variety of roles, including intelligence gathering and combat operations. They were also used to document war crimes by journalists for reporting from otherwise inaccessible war zones. While the main focus has been on using anti-aircraft drones to strike Russian forces from the air, Ukraine has also successfully deployed drones against Russian naval assets in occupied Crimea. In this particular attack, aerial drones were coordinated with naval drones, which worked similarly to conventional torpedoes. Another relatively new feature of the war in Ukraine is the widespread and highly effective use of small commercial drones, many of which are used by civilian volunteers to gather intelligence. It helped increase the situational awareness of Ukrainian forces, identify Russian positions, and track troop movements.

  • According to the Defense Express, Russia has been using Shahed-136 drones rather than cruise missiles for air attacks which cost about USD 20,000 each.


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

Several companies are incorporating advanced concepts such as AI and Internet of Things (IoT) in 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, Boeing, 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 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.

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High Investment in Cargo and Delivery of Goods through Autonomous Aircraft to Drive the Market 

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

The advanced features 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 their wider applications. This will facilitate the growth of the market.            

Reduction in Human Errors in Autonomous Aircraft to Propel Market Growth

The incorporation of AI and IoT based systems in 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 the aircraft. However, the flight testing is carried out by prominent companies by testing and verifying these aircraft before commercialization. These factors will boost the global autonomous aircraft market growth forecast.


Complex Design, Testing, and Certification Procedure for Autonomous Aircraft to Hinder Market Growth

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 environment conditions, passenger safety, and onboard safety equipment. As these products are a 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

Rotary Wing Autonomous Aircraft Dominates the Market Owing to its Versatile Features

Based on aircraft type, the market is segmented into fixed-wing and rotary-wing. The rotary-wing segment holds the highest 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 the segment.

The fixed-wing aircraft segment is anticipated to be fastest growing 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

Flight Management Computers Segment holds the Highest Share due to its Broader Application in Autonomous Aircraft 

Based on the component, the market is divided into radars & transponders, propulsion systems, actuation system, air data inertial reference units, flight management computers, and others. The flight management computers segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. It is owing to the rise in the flight management computers 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.

Rest 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

Increasingly Autonomous Segment to Dominate due to Increased Demand for Semi-Automatic UAVs 

Based on technology, the market is bifurcated into fully autonomous and increasingly autonomous (IA). The fully autonomous segment is anticipated to be fastest growing during the forecast period. The growth of aircraft technology attributed to the increasing use of fully autonomous 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 propel segment growth. Increasingly autonomous aircraft dominates the market and is anticipated to grow moderately owing to the increasing installation of autonomous components in the unmanned vehicle.

By End User Analysis

Defense Segment to Dominate Market Share due to Increased Applications in Surveillance, and Combat Situations 

Based on the end-user, the market is classified into commercial aircraft, air medical service, cargo and delivery aircraft, defense, and others. Amongst these, Cargo & Delivery Aircraft are estimated to be fastest growing owing to rising applications in food and cargo delivery by corporate giants. The defense segment holds the highest market share due to the application of advanced aircraft for surveillance, combat and other tactical requirements. 

For instance, in May 2023, The United States Air Force collaborated with autonomous flight leader Xwing to integrate self-flying aircraft into the nation’s defense fleet. Xwing, a California-based technology start-up, announced that it has been awarded Phase II small business innovation research contract from the Air Force.

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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 growing number of companies will drive the growth of the market across North America. Furthermore, the presence of key market players such as the Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, AeroVironment, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and others propels the growth of the market.

North America Autonomous Aircraft Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)

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Europe's autonomous aircraft market share 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 drives the growth of the market across the region. As compared to other nations, European countries have better infrastructure facilities for aircraft.

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

The Middle East & Africa and Latin America show moderate growth owing to the development of infrastructure for autonomous aircraft. For instance, in May 2023, Embraer, a Brazilian aeronautics company, based in São Jose dos Campos, has signed a contract with the federal government of Brazil to develop platforms for the demonstration of new autonomous aeronautical technology.


Advancement in the Use of Technologies such as AI, IoT, Big Data Analytics Drive the Growth of the Autonomous Aircraft Market

Increasing focus on the development of smart drone concepts, the introduction of AI, IoT based systems, and big data analytics are the latest trends in the aircraft market and factors that drives the global market size. Key players have 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 2023 – Natilus, an American company that designs and manufactures the world's first autonomous aircraft for efficient and sustainable cargo transport, announced that Ameriflight, a leader in cargo operations, is the first U.S. regional airline to sign a purchase agreement with Natilus. Ameriflight's contract for 20 Natilus Kona feeders, valued at USD 134 million, brings the total commitment to deliver 460 aircraft at USD 6.8 billion.

  • October 2022– Reliable Robotics announced the award of a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to further demonstrate the performance and safety of remotely piloted aircraft in a more operational environment. Reliable has now won Phase I, II and III SBIR contracts from the government to advance the autonomous capability of existing aircraft.

  • June 2022 - Guardian Agriculture has entered into a multi-million dollar partnership with Wilbur-Ellis, a leading marketer, distributor and manufacturer of agricultural products, specialty chemicals and feed. The partnership gives Wilbur-Ellis customers the opportunity to access this cutting-edge technology before anyone else.

  • March 2022 -Embraer has announced a number of new technology partnerships with global companies focused on innovations in autonomous systems. These contracts are part of Embraer's autonomous systems project, Project EASY, where agile testing processes are used to develop best-in-class solutions that enable future autonomous aviation.

  • March 2021 - Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have signed a MoU to cooperate in providing unmanned munitions to the Republic of Korea (ROK) military forces. According to the MoU, KAI and IAI aim to expand their long-term cooperation to market mobile ammunition in accordance with the requirements of the ROK Army.


An Infographic Representation of Autonomous Aircraft Market

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

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

17.8% CAGR


Value (USD billion)


By Aircraft Type

  • Fixed-Wing

  • Rotary-Wing

By Technology

  • Increasingly Autonomous (IA)

  • Fully Autonomous

By Component

  • Radars & Transponders

  • Propulsion Systems

  • Actuation System

  • Air Data Inertial Reference Units

  • Flight Management Computers

  • Others

By End-User

  • Air Medical Service

  • Commercial Aircraft

  • Defense

  • Cargo & Delivery Aircraft

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (Aircraft Type, Technology, Component, End-User)

  • U.S. (End-User)

  • Canada (End-User)

  • Europe (Aircraft Type, Technology, Component, End-User)

  • U.K. (End-User)

  • Germany (End-User)

  • France (End-User)

  • Russia (End-User)

  • Rest of Europe (End-User)

  • Asia Pacific (Aircraft Type, Technology, Component, End-User)

  • Japan (End-User)

  • China (End-User)

  • India (End-User)

  • South Korea (End-User)

  • Rest of Asia Pacific (End-User)

  • Rest of the World (Aircraft Type, Technology, Component, End-User)

  • Middle East and Africa (End-User)

  • South America (End-User)


Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 6.28 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 22.71 billion by 2030.

In 2023, the market value stood at USD 7.20 billion.

The market is estimated to grow at a significant growth rate of 17.8% 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 2022.

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

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