"Smart Market Solutions to Help Your Business Gain Edge over Competitors"

Autonomous Ships Market Size, Share, Industry Analysis & Russia-Ukraine War Analysis, By Autonomy (Partial Automation, Fully Autonomous and Remotely Operated), By Solution (Hardware and Software), By Ship Type (Commercial (Bulk Carriers, Tankers, Dry Cargo, Containers, and Others) and Defense), By End User (Line Fit and Retrofit), and Regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Last Updated :April 18, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI101797



Play Audio Listen to Audio Version

The global autonomous ships market size was valued at USD 5.61 billion in 2023 and is projected to grow from USD 6.11 billion in 2024 to USD 12.25 billion by 2032, exhibiting a CAGR of 9.1% during the forecast period.


Request Sample

Autonomous ships are remotely piloted or highly automated ships. These vessels are equipped with the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technology, data analysis technology, and land-based monitoring centers connected to broadband networks. Advanced hardware and software automatically handle all tasks related to ship operations. Automated systems provide critical information such as equipment status monitoring, environmental monitoring, engine control, cargo control/loading, vessel control, docking, and undocking.

Technological advances in sensors, electromechanical drives, cameras, and satellite technology move automatic ships across oceans without human intervention. Committee Maritime International (CMI) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are investigating how autonomous ships would fit into the recent agenda of international maritime law.

The maritime sector faced unprecedented challenges globally amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Production shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, and crew and staff quarantine periods hindered the growth of the market. Due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), local authorities banned several cargo and passenger ships from entering the port. As a result, some merchant seamen remained on board, while the ship owners incurred additional costs due to their extended stay in territorial waters.


Russia-Ukraine War Positively Impacted the Market Growth due to the Rising Demand for the Product

Autonomous ships are appealing to naval forces as they offer several advantages over conventional manned vessels, and many countries have developed or experimented with autonomous ships in recent years. The U.S. has invested heavily and developed a strategic plan to acquire medium, large, and extra-large "unmanned vehicles" for surface and undersea operations. Other navies don't want to be left behind and are aggressively developing unmanned autonomy capabilities. These include China, the U.K., South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and others.

For Instance, in September 2022, Ukraine successfully used self-propelled "drone" boats in a full-scale attack on the Russian navy in Sevastopol, Crimea. It was a pivotal moment that changed the future of naval warfare. While autonomous ships have been deployed before, this is the first time multiple armed autonomous ships have been simultaneously deployed in combination with drones to conduct offensive naval operations against military targets successfully.

Several Russian ships were damaged in the attack, and the USV reportedly penetrated the harbor defenses and damaged vessels at protected anchorages. This development will lead to a rethinking of the role of unmanned ships in port defense to defend against aggressive naval operations and such attacks.

Autonomous Ships Market Trends

Technological Inventions in Maritime Navigation Software to Propel Market Growth

In recent years, a number of market players have come up with solutions for improving maritime security. The market growth is expected to be driven by the adoption of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and navigational systems. For instance, in December 2023, Serco Inc., a provider of professional, technology, engineering, and management services, has been awarded the Autonomy and Vehicle Control Systems/ Testing and Evaluations contract to support the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division’s (NSWCCD) Naval Architecture and Engineering Department.

Request a Free sample to learn more about this report.

Autonomous Ships Market Growth Factors

Rising Investments in Advanced Ship Technology Developments to Boost Market Growth

Increasing investments in cutting-edge technology by various countries is accelerating market growth. Autonomy helps reduce collisions at sea, work long hours without distractions, increase fuel efficiency, and perform mission-critical tasks.

For instance, in October 2021, the autonomous ship project was financed by South Korea. A system capable of intelligent navigation, collision, and accident prevention, an integrated platform for system management, decision making, and situational awareness has been included in the project.

The global market growth will be driven by the deployment of technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Big Data analytics.

Development of Technologically Advanced Next-Generation Autonomous Ships Drives the Market Growth

Autonomous ships are revolutionizing the maritime industry by introducing new technologies, processes, and business models that have the potential to transform the way ships traditionally operate. Improved efficiency and security of the ship, data driven operations as well as enhanced capabilities are among the advantages of these ships. Therefore, the increasing development of next-generation ships will accelerate market growth. For instance, in November 2023, the U.S. Department of Navy, Naval Sea Systems Command, NAVSEA, launched a process to explore what can be done to develop a large autonomous surface vessel, LUSV, by inviting industry participants.


Threats Connected with Cyber Security Hinders the Autonomous Ships Market Growth

The shipping industry has faced constant changes due to the digitization and automation of ships. Autonomous ship infrastructure includes a combination of electromechanical systems and highly integrated software and hardware that form computer networks. Censorship and networking between modern ships and computers in ports, terminals, shipping companies, and shipyards hinder information security, which is more vulnerable to cyberattacks and piracy. Increasing digitization and modernization lead to cyberattacks which affect overall market growth.

For instance, regulations in Japan do not allow fully autonomous vessels to operate without people on board. This regulation by the Government of Japan is an important decision as potential cyber threats, and attacks have not been thoroughly evaluated and addressed, as limited information is known about the overall architecture of autonomous type of ships.

Autonomous Ships Market Segmentation Analysis

By Autonomy Analysis

Fully Autonomous Ship Segment to Witness the Highest Growth from 2024 to 2032 Owing to Rising Demand

Based on autonomy, the market is classified into partial automation, remotely operated, and fully autonomous. In 2023, the remotely operated division held the largest share. A remotely-operated vessel is operated from a remote center, allowing the vessel to be steered from a vantage point or a safe location.

For instance, in September 2020, offshore service operator SeaOwl launched its new Remotely Powered Service at Sea (ROSS).

The highest growth is expected for the fully autonomous segment over the period under consideration. The benefits of reduced delivery times, shortened port calls, cheaper operating costs, no accidents caused by human error, and lesser freight rates are the factors driving this increase.

To know how our report can help streamline your business, Speak to Analyst

By Solution Analysis

Hardware Segment Holds Highest Share Owing to Growing Use of Automated Navigation Systems and Advanced Sensors

Based on the solution, the market is segmented into hardware and software. The hardware segment dominated the market in 2023 and will continue its dominance during 2024-2032. The growth is attributed to the growing adoption of hardware components such as sensors, GPS trackers, automated navigation systems, propulsion & auxiliary systems, and others.

The software segment will exhibit the highest growth due to advanced software solutions demand for autonomous operations during the forecast period. In January 2020, Robosys Automation Limited launched the newest version of Voyager 100. It is an AI software that allows bridge watchkeepers to control ships and improve safety.

By Ship Type Analysis

Commercial Segment to Witness Highest Growth Due to Rising Demand for Next Generation Cargo Ships

By ship type, the market is classified into commercial and defense. The commercial segment is divided into bulk carriers, tankers, dry cargo, and containers.

The commercial segment held the highest share in 2023. The growth is attributed to increasing tourism and international seaborne trade. According to the International Chamber of Shipping, the total value of the annual global shipping industry trade stood at USD 14 trillion in 2019.

The defense segment is projected to show significant growth due to the rising demand from naval forces for border patrol, transportation of military forces, and others. For instance, in January 2023, Austal Limited presented a solid financial future with an early-stage contract that could exceed USD 108 million, including work on an autonomous patrol vessel for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

By End User Analysis

Line fit Segment Dominates the Market Owing to Increased Spending on Naval Defense

By end-user, the market is segmented into line fit and retrofit. Among these, the line fit segment held the highest autonomous ships market share in 2023. The growth is due to increasing investments from naval defense forces and growing international maritime trade. The procurement of advanced ships due to growing tourism drives segmental growth.

For instance, in January 2023, The Indian Navy signed an agreement with Sagar Defense Engineering Pvt. to help acquire a fleet of armed autonomous boats under the "SPRINT" initiative, which aims to encourage the development and use of homegrown defense technology by domestic companies.

The retrofit segment will witness remarkable growth during the forecast period. Growing upgrades, modernization programs, and changing regulatory energy and emission standards drive market growth.


The market is studied across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World.

Asia Pacific Autonomous Ships Market Size, 2023 (USD Billion)

To get more information on the regional analysis of this market, Request a Free sample

Asia Pacific dominated the market share in 2023. The growth of the market is attributed to the rapid economic development of the region and growing maritime trade. According to UNCTAD's Maritime Transport Review 2022, the Asia-Pacific region remained the world's crucial maritime cargo handling center in 2021, accounting for 42% of exports and 64% of imports.

North America is observing significant growth due to increasing investment in developing advanced commercial and defense vessels. Growing shipping in the U.S. and presence of major companies such as IBM Corporation, GE, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell International Inc., and others drive market growth.

Europe is expected to grow significantly between 2024 and 2032. Behind the growth are increased investments in developing advanced ship projects from various European countries, driving the market growth. In January 2020, the European research program Horizon 2020 awarded USD 22 million to the Autonomous Marines project developed by the Norwegian maritime cluster. Major players such as ABB, Fugro, Kongsberg Maritime, Rolls-Royce Plc. and others contribute to regional market growth. 

The rest of the world shows moderate growth between 2024 and 2032. The growth is due to the increase in spending by the navies of the Middle Eastern countries. In 2019, Unique Group developed the UnI-Cat vessel in the United Arab Emirates for unmanned exploration in shallow waters. The company designs and integrates the ship's autonomous sensor and communication technology.

List of Key Companies in Autonomous Ships Market

Key Players are Focusing on Developing Advanced Technologies for Next-Generation Autonomous Vessels

Players operating in this industry focus on business expansion by developing next-generation ships and systems. In October 2022, Kongsberg Maritime announced that a supply contract for the HUGIN Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) system had been awarded to an undisclosed partner. The HUGIN Endurance is a long-range AUV designed for land-to-shore operations. It is the major member of the HUGIN AUV family, with a diameter of 1.2 meters, a length of about 11 meters, and a weight of about 7,000 kilograms.


  • ABB (Switzerland)

  • ASELSAN A.Ş. (Turkey)

  • BAE Systems (U.K.)

  • Fugro (Netherlands)

  • GE (U.S.)

  • Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.)

  • Kongsberg Gruppen Maritime (Norway)

  • L3 ASV (U.S.)

  • Northrop Grumman (U.S.)

  • Rolls Royce plc (U.K.)

  • Siemens Energy (Germany)

  • Wärtsilä (Finland)

  • Marine Technologies LLC (U.S.)

  • Ulstein Group ASA (Norway)

  • Mitsui (Japan)

  • Sea Machines Robotics Inc. (U.S.)

  • Neptec Technologies Corp. (Canada)


  • May 2023 – L3Harris Technologies partnered with BigBear.ai to provide advanced autonomous surface vessels (ASVs) and artificial intelligence (AI) to current and future maritime defense programs. Under the agreement, L3Harris' ASView system would be integrated with BigBear.ai's predictive computer vision technology to identify better and classify vessels, improve situational awareness, and support manned and unmanned group missions.

  • March 2023 - Samsung Heavy Industries Co. (SHI) and Kongsberg Maritime (KM) signed a joint development project agreement (JDA) to design a next-generation autonomous 174K LNG carrier that uses autonomous remote control and low-emission technology.

  • February 2023 – Lloyd's Register Unmanned Marine Systems certified the BAE Systems Autonomous Pacific 24 (AP24) rigid inflatable boat (RIB). The AP24 RIB was developed for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems with funding from the NavyX Autonomy and Lethal Accelerator programme, which aims to deliver new technology quickly.

  • July 2022 - Fugro signed a contract with Kooiman Engineering and Van Oossanen Naval Architects to develop Blue Prism, its next-generation unmanned surface vessel (USV), designed specifically for coastal and offshore environments. Blue Prism design combines a very low carbon footprint with extensive data collection capabilities

  • August 2022 - The U.S. Navy is testing its first full sized autonomous ship. The U.S. Navy added autonomous navigation capability to another vessel, the future Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13) for Military Sealift Command. The service tested autonomy retrofit systems and purpose built autonomous prototypes. However, this will be the first true numbered hull in the U.S. Navy with built onboard autonomy.

To gain extensive insights into the market, Request for Customization

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year 


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 9.1% over 2024 to 2032


Value (USD Billion)



By Autonomy

  • Partial Automation

  • Fully Autonomous

  • Remotely Operated

By Solution

  • Hardware

  • Software

By Ship Type

  • Commercial

    • Bulk Carriers

    • Tankers

    • Dry Cargo

    • Containers

    • Others

  • Defense

By End-User

  • Line Fit

  • Retrofit

By Geography

  • North America (By Autonomy, Ship Type, Solution, End-User, and Country)

    • U.S. (By End User)

    • Canada (By End User)

  • Europe (By Autonomy, Ship Type, Solution, End-User, and Country)

    • U.K. (By End User)

    • Germany (By End User)

    • France (By End User)

    • Russia (By End User)

    • Rest of Europe (By End User)

  • Asia Pacific (By Autonomy, Ship Type, Solution, End-User, and Country)

    • Japan (By End User)

    • China (By End User)

    • India (By End User)

    • Australia (By End User)

    • South Korea (By End User)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By End User)

  • Rest of the World (By Autonomy, Ship Type, Solution, End-User, and Sub-Region)

    • South America (By End User)

    • The Middle East & Africa (By  End User)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 5.61 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 12.25 billion by 2032.

The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% during the forecast period (2024-2032).

The hardware in the solutions segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

KONGSBERG is the leading player in the global market.

Asia Pacific held the highest market share in 2023.

Seeking Comprehensive Intelligence on Different Markets?
Get in Touch with Our Experts

Speak to an Expert
  • 2019-2032
  • 2023
  • 2019-2022
  • 200

Personalize this Research

  • Granular Research on Specified Regions or Segments
  • Companies Profiled based on User Requirement
  • Broader Insights Pertaining to a Specific Segment or Region
  • Breaking Down Competitive Landscape as per Your Requirement
  • Other Specific Requirement on Customization
Request Customization Banner

Client Testimonials

“This report is really well done and we really appreciate it! Again, I may have questions as we dig in deeper. Thanks again for some really good work.”

- U.S.-based biotechnology company focussing on treatment of chronic pain.

“Kudos to your team. Thank you very much for your support and agility to answer our questions.”

- Europe-based provider of solutions to automate data centre operations.

“We appreciate you and your team taking out time to share the report and data file with us, and we are grateful for the flexibility provided to modify the document as per request. This does help us in our business decision making. We would be pleased to work with you again, and hope to continue our business relationship long into the future.”

- India-based manufacturer of industrial and specialty intermediates with a strong global presence.

“I want to first congratulate you on the great work done on the Medical Platforms project. Thank you so much for all your efforts.”

- One of the largest cosmetics company in the world.

“Thank you very much. I really appreciate the work your team has done. I feel very comfortable recommending your services to some of the other startups that I’m working with, and will likely establish a good long partnership with you.”

- U.S. based startup operating in the cultivated meat market.

“We received the below report on the U.S. market from you. We were very satisfied with the report.”

- Global hearing aids manufacturer.

“I just finished my first pass-through of the report. Great work! Thank you!”

- U.S. based solar racking solutions provider.

“Thanks again for the great work on our last partnership. We are ramping up a new project to understand the imaging and imaging service and distribution market in the U.S.”

- World’s leading advisory firm.

“We feel positive about the results. Based on the presented results, we will do strategic review of this new information and might commission a detailed study on some of the modules included in the report after end of the year. Overall we are very satisfied and please pass on the praise to the team. Thank you for the co-operation!”

- Germany based machine construction company.

“Thank you very much for the very good report. I have another requirement on cutting tools, paper crafts and decorative items.”

- Japanese manufacturing company of stationery products.

“We are happy with the professionalism of your in-house research team as well as the quality of your research reports. Looking forward to work together on similar projects”

- One of the Leading Food Companies in Germany

“We appreciate the teamwork and efficiency for such an exhaustive and comprehensive report. The data offered to us was exactly what we were looking for. Thank you!”

- Intuitive Surgical

“I recommend Fortune Business Insights for their honesty and flexibility. Not only that they were very responsive and dealt with all my questions very quickly but they also responded honestly and flexibly to the detailed requests from us in preparing the research report. We value them as a research company worthy of building long-term relationships.”

- Major Food Company in Japan

“Well done Fortune Business Insights! The report covered all the points and was very detailed. Looking forward to work together in the future”

- Ziering Medical

“It has been a delightful experience working with you guys. Thank you Fortune Business Insights for your efforts and prompt response”

- Major Manufacturer of Precision Machine Parts in India

“I had a great experience working with Fortune Business Insights. The report was very accurate and as per my requirements. Very satisfied with the overall report as it has helped me to build strategies for my business”

- Hewlett-Packard

“This is regarding the recent report I bought from Fortune Business insights. Remarkable job and great efforts by your research team. I would also like to thank the back end team for offering a continuous support and stitching together a report that is so comprehensive and exhaustive”

- Global Management Consulting Firm

“Please pass on our sincere thanks to the whole team at Fortune Business Insights. This is a very good piece of work and will be very helpful to us going forward. We know where we will be getting business intelligence from in the future.”

- UK-based Start-up in the Medical Devices Sector

“Thank you for sending the market report and data. It looks quite comprehensive and the data is exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate the timeliness and responsiveness of you and your team.”

- One of the Largest Companies in the Defence Industry
We use cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to visit this site you agree to our use of cookies . Privacy.