Increasing applications across various industrial sectors and continuous technological advancements are driving global underwater robotics market growth over the forecast period. These robots have applications in marine archaeology, maritime security, and marine biology. In addition, continuous oceanic surveillance is one of the key applications for such robots. These robots are designed for work environments with less approachability and in applications, where the security of divers cannot be risked. These underwater robotic vehicles play a major role in growth of the offshore industry sector as well. The increasing need for undersea mining has become an important factor contributing to the market expansion.
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Scientists and researchers from various fields have been exploring deep oceans to gain more knowledge about its nature, creatures, composition, and physics. The market is growing at a steady rate owing to the increased interest shown by scientific research institutions and several public and private sector companies. Such knowledge is useful for sea explorations and ocean mapping. These robotic devices are also used for rescue and safety operations.
Application segments comprise surface and underwater examination, defense and security, commercial and scientific research, and leisure robots. Broadly, these are classified as autonomous or remotely operated robots. It comprises variants of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV).
Improved production techniques and technological proliferation in robotics industry in North America has spurred growth in this region. Defense activities from countries such as the U.S. and Canada have led to an increased demand for such robots. Investments in robotically operated marine vehicles have escalated in the Australian subcontinent. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, and China from the Asia Pacific region are highly advanced in the field of robotics and automation. A significant rise in research and exploration activities in the European region is expected to drive the demand of global underwater robotics market.
However, the presence of water and its high pressure levels slow down the signal transmission speed and create background noises and echoes. Communication inadequacies below the surface could pose a challenge to the advancement of market.
Underwater robotics has been extensively used for defense and commercial operations. Bluefin-12 AUV by Bluefin Robotics equipped with inbuilt Buried Object Scanning Sonar (BOSS) is used widely for rescue and mining operations. The U.S. navy has deployed the Blackghost AUV robot by Cambridge AUVs, which is exclusively designed to undertake an assault course autonomously without outside control.
Major industry players include Bluefin Robotics Corporation, MacArtney Group, Phoenix International, Schilling Robotics, Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd., and Oceaneering International Inc.