Oceanography has always been vital for enhancing security, protection of the environment, disaster management, and for monitoring commercial operations. An unmanned sea system can conduct all these tasks at a much lower cost, and can function for much longer periods, compared to a manned vessel. This article appreciates the vitality of an unmanned sea system for surveillance, communication, reconnaissance, and disaster management. Moreover, this article provides insights on why the demand for such systems will only keep growing.
Unmanned sea systems are sea faring vehicles that can be navigated and operated without the need for human presence onboard. These systems can be operated autonomously by the vehicle or by an operator from a nearby vessel. The unmanned sea systems have diverse applications in the civilian sphere when compared to the naval sphere. These systems are used for civilian purposes (mostly by the oil & gas industry to monitor pipelines) and by the universities for conducting oceanographic and meteorological research. However, going forward, these systems will likely become an integral part of the naval forces, as they can carry heavier payloads for surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence for a long period, ranging from weeks to months.
CIVILIAN APPLICATIONS OF USVs: The USVs have found applications for civilian purposes for conducting environmental researches, surveys, and for commercial operations. In the oil & gas industry, these technologies are used on a larger scale for monitoring pipelines, rigs, and the environment, to ensure smoother, safer, and economical operations. These systems also come in handy for research laboratories, universities, and various research organizations, to collect various meteorological and oceanographic data necessary for advanced warning systems in case of any disasters, and for exploration of energy resources.
MILITARY APPLICATIONS OF USVs: The advantages offered by the USVs for defense purposes are numerous. The usage of USVs for communication, reconnaissance, surveillance, and intelligence by the naval forces will significantly reduce the costs and risks, simultaneously increasing the payload capacity. These vehicles are essential when it comes to detecting and locating the submarines, which are beyond the line of sight, as they can carry elevated sensor masts. Also, these systems can be used for mine detection and clearing operations without the danger of human casualties.
THE FUTURE OF THE MARKET FOR UNMANNED SEA SYSTEMS
A report by a market research firm estimates a healthy CAGR of 7.72% for the Global Sea Systems Market. Contemporary UUVs and USVs are capable of operating autonomously with minimum interference. The evolution of autonomous technologies in USVs and UUVs is expected to drive the market. The growing application areas for such systems in both civilian and military spheres will also likely increase the demand for such systems. North America and the Asia-Pacific constitute a major share in the global market as the governments in these regions are adopting advanced technologies, like USVs and UUVs, to adapt to the ongoing geopolitical tensions, particularly on the maritime front, in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, these systems can effectively stem the rise of piracy in the Indian Ocean.
RESTRAINTS FOR THE MARKET
The restraints for the current market are the limited applications offered by these systems. However, these systems have many potential application areas, which are yet to be tapped, offering various opportunities for the shipbuilding industry. The other hurdle for the growth of the market is the high cost of these systems, which has led to a low adoption rate among the potential customers.