Visiongain calculates that the global market for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles in the energy sector is worth $1.2bn in 2010. Oil and gas companies are rapidly expanding their use of underwater robotics technology with vehicles classified as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV).
Such Unmanned Underwater Vehicles are of use any place where depth, cold, or other hazardous conditions prevent manned missions. Increases in capability and technological advances have led these vehicles to be incorporated into an increasing array of tasks in the energy sector, creating a robust market for companies with strong growth over the next decade.
These Unmanned Underwater Vehicles have been in use in the energy sector for over three decades, beginning with deeptow and deep sea drilling operations, but newer technologies have allowed increasing refinement of their work. Deep sea areas with oil and gas reserves from the Gulf of Guinea to basins off the coast of Brazil to the Asia-Pacific region to the Arctic create substantial opportunity for use of ROVs and AUVs. The variety of vehicles is also expanding, with greater use of the vehicles in shallow waters, vehicles developed for inspection and maintenance tasks, and customised vehicles with other versatile applications.
The development of more effective subsystems, which provide accompanying technology to advanced Unmanned Underwater Vehicle systems, is also a major growth opportunity. New technological developments include better communications technology to increase navigational efficiency with smarter systems and advanced signals technology, and better sensors, cameras and other data gathering elements. Hybrid vehicles, which incorporate aspects of ROV and AUV technology, are also likely to be applied in greater numbers going forward.
While these factors are likely to drive impressive growth over the next ten years, a few issues could restrain the market over the next decade. Technological hurdles may stand in the way of some envisioned projects for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles. Additionally, oil prices will need to remain high to justify forecast increases in spending on new technologies.
Yet despite these concerns and the current economic climate, companies producing ROVs and AUVs for the energy sector are likely to see strong and sustained growth over the next decade.
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) in the Energy Market 2010-2020 was published in Feb 2010. For sample pages of the ROV and AUV report please click here.