The global vision positioning system market size was valued at USD 3.53 billion in 2016. Growing application of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for commercial and defense purposes, increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and rise in demand for Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled optical sensors are expected to significantly contribute to market growth.
The market is characterized by continued technological innovations to keep pace with changing industrial needs. For instance, Google, Inc. announced that the company is developing a ‘visual positioning service’ using its Tango 3D sensing computer technology to offer a comprehensive indoor location positioning system. This technology uses augmented reality technology coupled with real-world information to locate the distinct visual features of an area, which is eventually used to create a map of the location.
There has been a surge in usage and application of UAVs in the defense and commercial sectors. Global demand for commercial drones is anticipated to increase at a substantial rate from 2017 to 2025, which is expected to positively impact the market. Commercial drones are principally being used for security and law enforcement as well as agricultural purposes. The agricultural and media and entertainment industries are expected to witness a surge in demand for commercial drones over the forecast period, thereby driving industry growth.
Cameras emerged as the dominant segment in the market, with a revenue share of just over 65% in 2016. Cameras form an integral part of positioning systems as they capture images of an area or tracks the position of the automated device to feed input data into the system. Major companies manufacturing positioning cameras include Sick AG, Omron Corporation, and Menzel Vision and Robotics. These companies offer 2D vision and smart cameras integrated with optic sensors. The most commonly used cameras are photometric cameras using Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) arrays.
Optical sensors use images captured by the camera to determine the orientation, presence, and accuracy of components captured. They can conduct multi-point inspection even when the target position is not consistent. Some major players are investing in companies developing vision sensors. For instance, Omron Ventures Co., Ltd. invested in 3D MEDiA Co., Ltd., which is engaged in research and development of sensors for industrial robots. The technology developed by 3D MEDiA Co., Ltd. added 3D vision capabilities of eyes and control function of the brain to industrial robots.
The markers used in these systems include infrared markers, which are used in surgical instruments, circular fiducial markers, isotropic markers, and black border markers. These are used to provide coordinate axes with specific features that can be identified by computer vision algorithms.
Vision positioning systems are used for both indoor and outdoor location tracking. Outdoor location tracking systems accounted for the largest revenue share in 2016 and is projected to continue its dominance throughout the forecast period. This is attributed to growing demand for UAVs and outdoor AGVs, especially in the defense, commercial, retail, and industrial segments.
Indoor systems are expected to exhibit robust growth over the forecast period. This growth is attributed to increased need to determine accurate positions in indoor navigation, where satellite-operated systems such as Global Positioning System (GPS) are not very effective. This is especially true in the manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, retail, and hospitality sectors.
Vision positioning systems are widely used in UAVs, AGVs, industrial robots, and space vehicles. The revenue share of the UAV platform was the largest in 2016 and it is expected to exhibit a CAGR of just over 13% over the forecast period. In the U.S., UAVs and AGVs together accounted for more than 65% of the total revenue in 2016.
High growth rate of the UAV platform is characterized by its wide range of applications in various industry verticals, including homeland security, military, retail, and agriculture. Demand for UAVs is significantly higher in military applications as compared to commercial ones. Increase in the use of UAVs by government organizations for scientific research and development, infrastructure, law enforcement, environmental studies, and disaster management activities are anticipated to boost demand over the forecast period.
AGVs are mobile robots that follow magnets, markers, and wires laid on the floor, or use vision sensors and lasers for navigation. AGVs can navigate easily without human intervention simply by locating objects in the surroundings with the help of optical or ultrasonic sensors and cameras. Demand for AGVs is projected to grow at a modest rate over the forecast period.
Industrial robots in commercial spaces have gained popularity as they can replace humans for performing any mechanized task with higher efficiency. They are much more competent compared to home robots, thus justifying higher spending on such devices. With growing adoption of these systems, most commercial spaces now have predictable and reliable communication infrastructure to enable smooth navigation using the positioning technology. This can be done without GPS or other satellite communications.
Retail, healthcare, defense, industrial, transportation and logistics, and hospitality are major segments where these systems are in demand. Defense accounted for over 40% of the overall revenue in 2016 and is projected to be the dominant segment over the forecast period. This may primarily be attributed to growing usage of UAVs and AGVs in the defense sector. Drones are used for mapping, patrolling, and in-war zones for aerial strikes.
The healthcare sector is expected to exhibit a significant CAGR of 13.5% from 2017 to 2025, fueled by growing demand from Asia Pacific, with countries such as Japan and China at the forefront. Vision sensors and infrared Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) used as markers are attached to diagnostic, therapeutic, or surgical equipment and other devices, which requires motion tracking in the healthcare industry.
Drones are widely used in the media and entertainment sector for commercial photography, crowd management, and news reporting, where large helicopters cannot be used. For instance, while event managers and festival organizers can conduct accurate headcounts using overhead photos for increased safety and crowd management, the real estate industry can use drones for aerial property shots. Drones are also used for photography at occasions such as weddings and festivals. Demand for high-precision positioning devices in drones is anticipated to witness robust growth over the forecast period.
The North American region dominated the vision positioning system market with a revenue share of close to 35% in 2016 and is expected to continue its dominance over the forecast period. The U.S. accounts for a major revenue share in the region owing to high adoption of UAVs, AGVs, industrial robots, and space vehicles. Moreover, some of the major companies engaged in providing these solutions are based in North America.
Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa (MEA) are expected to emerge as regions conducive to market growth. DJI, a Chinese drone manufacturer, is one of the largest global developers of high-precision positioning devices. Its product “Guidance” is a visual sensing system with ultrasonic sensors, integrated visual cameras, and an advanced computer vision algorithm. The product comprises a central processor and five sensor modules. It can detect any obstacle in real time and its high-precision stereo algorithms can provide position-based information over any terrain. For specific requirements, developers can create customized applications for its ultrasonic and visual sensors. With foreign companies investing heavily in the Chinese drones market, manufacturers including Yuneec International and Hover Camera are projected to witness growing demand for positioning devices in future.
Key players in the market include Omron Corporation, Fanuc Corporation, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., DJI, and Cognex Corporation. Many players have entered into merger and acquisition (M&A) agreements to tackle the challenges of in-house research and development, to benefit from cost-effective manufacturing, and to expand their geographical footprint.
For instance, in October 2016, Cognex Corporation acquired EnShape GmbH, a Germany-based company engaged in developing advanced 3D vision software and sensors. EnShape GmbH’s 3D vision engineers became a part of the Cognex engineering center in Jena, Germany. Furthermore, in August 2016, Cognex Corporation acquired a Spain-based company, AQSense, a 3D vision software provider. The acquisition was part of the company’s strategy to expand its geographical footprint.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2014 - 2016
2017 - 2025
Revenue in USD Million & CAGR from 2017 to 2025
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and MEA
U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, China, India, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico
Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2016 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global vision positioning system market report based on component, location, platform, application, and region.
Component Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Location Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Platform Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Automated Guided Vehicle
Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Transportation & Logistics
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Middle East & Africa
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