The global artificial intelligence and robotics in the aerospace and defense market size was valued at USD 18.5 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 40.51 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.1% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Artificial intelligence and robotics adoption has been increasing in many fields due to the increasing success rate of missions using such solutions. With the advent of Industry 4.0, the advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence are helping the market by bringing innovative technologies into robots used in various aerospace applications. In commercial aviation, AI and robotics are being developed to automate airport operations and perform aircraft monitoring functions to better plan operations. Also, AI is being incorporated into the MRO sector to enhance the efficiency of maintenance operations.
Nevertheless, with the growing reliability of AI-based systems, several players in the artificial intelligence and robotics sector and governments are increasing their investments in the AI and robotics industry. Such investments are expected to enable the players to spend more on R&D, allowing the companies to innovate continuously and introduce more efficient and advanced AI and robotic technologies, thereby bolstering the prospects of the market studied.
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Increasing Applications of Artificial Intelligence
A growing focus is on building AI systems that bring autonomous operations to the aviation industry. AI has been incorporated at various levels in several applications of the aerospace sector, such as in aircraft maintenance, aircraft health and performance monitoring, airport operations, and pilot training, among others. Now that a new roadmap is in place for the safe and ethical functions of AI, players in the aerospace and defense sector are expected to take steps to enhance their adoption of AI and Machine Learning technologies.
The defense sector has been one of the largest adopters of AI technologies in the last two decades. AI is slowly increasing in intelligence collection and analysis, logistics, cyber operations, information operations, command, and control, and use in various semiautonomous and autonomous vehicles. In the present-day military, aircraft autonomy using the principles of AI is, in effect, to varying extents. AI-based technologies, targeting technology, and autonomous drones are used in the ISR systems. The incorporation of AI into the design of traditional battle networks is expected to enhance the performance of the current platforms. AI is projected to drive the platforms' autonomy in the following years as the aerospace and defense (A&D) sector is anticipated to witness growing use of the next-generation technologies. Hence, adoption of AU technologies is projected to increase, thereby driving the market growth.
Increasing Investments in the AI Technologies
The aerospace and defense industry is seeing increased investments in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies across several applications. The rapid development of quantum computing and its exponential capabilities have made investing in AI technologies a key area of strategic focus. With the industry stakeholders focusing on exploring and leveraging the benefits of Artificial Intelligence, most of the critical strategic investments of the A&D industry players in the coming future are expected to be into the R&D of AI, ML, and blockchain technologies. AI has increasingly fueled innovation in the aerospace and defense sector, particularly in the last decade. The number of AI-related patents awarded in the aerospace and defense business increased from an average of 25 per year between 2000 and 2014 to 1,071 in 2020, with an average of over 500 yearly over the previous five years. Such investments are expected to drive the market's growth during the forecast period.
Technical and Operational Challenges
Though AI technology and autonomous operations lead to more informed military decision-making and increase the speed and scale of military action, these technologies may also be unpredictable or vulnerable to unique forms of manipulation. As a result, there is skepticism over how reliable AI-based systems and robots will be in future combat operations. Also, several ethical concerns arose over adopting robots for complex warfare scenarios. The concerns over using killer robots that can fire weapons autonomously without a human in the loop have propelled scientists and activists to push the United Nations and world governments to consider a pre-emptive ban on killer robots. These apprehensions and the resultant pressures on the governments are expected to hamper the market growth during the forecast period.
Multiple Research and Development Initiatives
There are currently a large number of research and development initiatives underway worldwide investigating the potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in the aerospace sector, notably in domains such as air traffic control. Aviation authorities are now focusing on removing the ethical and safety concerns regarding the infusion of AI in such operations. In 2020, EASA published its Artificial Intelligence Roadmap 1.0, which establishes the Agency's initial vision on the safety and ethical dimensions of the development of AI in the aviation domain. An action plan to expedite the development of AI in aviation and air traffic management has been released by Eurocontrol, the principal Agency for organizing and planning all air traffic control throughout Europe (ATM). Such instances provide lucrative opportunities for the market studied.
The global artificial intelligence and robotics in aerospace and defense market are segmented by offering and application.
By offering, the global artificial intelligence and robotics in aerospace and defense market are segmented into hardware, software, and service.
The software segment accounts for the largest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.6% during the forecast period. This segment includes a range of software and algorithm developed by companies or available via open-source platforms. Software is one of the major defining factors in witnessing the acceptance rate of AI-enabled technologies. Strategic agility and readiness are becoming increasingly complex and require enhanced operating systems. Operations in novel domains, like cyber and space, demand using data as a critical enabler for information-driven operations. Major companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Google, invested significantly toward establishing cloud-based AI computing algorithms. TensorFlow and an open-source AI platform by Google allow anyone and everyone to gain hands-on experience in AI computation and provide unique datasets to the company, allowing them to understand future market opportunities.
The hardware segment covers all hardware and microelectronics integrated with AI algorithms and robotics. Microelectronics are the backbone of any AI-based algorithm. The adoption of microelectronics, a neuromorphic computer chip, and quantum processing backed by size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP) may boost economic potential. The major global economies are trying to establish mass manufacturing capabilities of microelectronics that will eventually help the nation to dominate the AI and robotics space by capturing the hardware market share.
By application, the global artificial intelligence and robotics in the aerospace and defense market are segmented into military, commercial aviation, and space.
The military segment accounts for the largest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.6% during the forecast period. Big data analysis for better decision-making, automated logistics using the integration of unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), underwater mines location through neural networks, bioinspired robots (swarm AI and deep neural networks), and object location are just a few of the many applications for AI in the military. In the following years, these applications are anticipated to propel market expansion.
Within the commercial aviation domain, the initiatives taken by commercial government entities to integrate digital technology over the upcoming year will play a preeminent role in the road mapping of the artificial intelligence and robotics industry. The DigitalEurope program established by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2021 has released a budget of USD 10.34 billion that will be utilized to shape the business, policy, and regulatory environment of AI-driven business by 2027. The program encompasses 40 national trade associations across Europe and 67 global corporations. Such initiatives will address significant regulatory challenges hindering the integration of AI technologies in the aviation segment.
North America Dominates the Global Market
By region, the global artificial intelligence and robotics in aerospace and defense market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World.
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North America is the largest shareholder in the global artificial intelligence and robotics in aerospace and defense market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% during the forecast period. The aerospace industry in the region is predominantly driven by the robust aviation base in the US. The presence of major aerospace and defense incumbents in the country also helps develop and integrate advanced robotics and AI systems into fields of manufacturing, MRO, and other commercial and defense-oriented applications. In January 2021, Boeing and SparkCognition's JV, SkyGrid, announced its plans to deploy an AI-powered cybersecurity system on drones. The company claims that the potent threat of cybersecurity exploits can be drastically minimized using its DeepArmor solution, a patented ML cybersecurity technology. The DeepArmor program uses advanced AI models to guard various endpoints intended to reduce any potential zero-day threats rather than a rules-based heuristics approach. The remedy is designed for both industrial and military UAVs. Such advancements provide a clear picture of North America's aerospace and military sector's adoption of disruptive technologies like AI and robots during the projection period.
Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.3%, generating USD 15.3 billion during the forecast period. As OEMs and operators alike are expected to increase their investment in AI integration processes across the supply chain, Asia-Pacific is predicted to experience the most significant rise in adopting AI and ML technology. Leading innovators in AI development and integration include nations like China, South Korea, and Japan. Numerous institutions in the area are engaged in research projects focusing on cutting-edge AI applications in the aviation sector. Incorporating AI technologies has benefited several Asia-Pacific manufacturing facilities that produce airplanes and related parts. For instance, OpenJaw Technologies unveiled its IBM Watson AI-powered chatbot OpenJaw t-social in May 2017, focusing on airlines, loyalty programs, and online travel agencies. The chatbot can modify its responses following the breadth of the queries posed and develops wisdom over time using machine learning.
Europe consists of a mature aerospace industry with several Tier-I and Tier-II suppliers working closely with the aircraft OEMs. The dominance of the European Union (EU) countries, such as France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Poland, is a result of their enduring R&D investments in the domain, which has led some regional companies to emerge as vital aircraft systems suppliers to OEMs across the globe. Aerospace OEMs such as Airbus and Thales also leverage AI technology to enhance productivity. For instance, during the development period of the A350 aircraft type, Airbus started a process that collected data documenting all of the problems and activities on the shop floor. The system implemented is used to generate recommendations to suggest the best course of action. Airbus aims to fully automate the manufacturing process with more machines and fewer people in the long term, further enabling higher production. Such developments render a positive outlook for developing, adopting, and implementing AI-based models in Europe's aerospace and defense sector.