Will Smith, Elon Musk, ETFs, a knight and your vacuum cleaner

by Werner Hochleitner

They are coming

Your household irobot vacuum cleaner probably don´t need to know the 3 laws of robotics from the movie "I, robot" starring Will Smith, but maybe some other devices as the Security-Robots Knightscope K5 and K3 should. In case you haven´t seen the movie, all 3 of them deal with the support of humans without hurting them. What sounds like a science fiction has already come to reality, I´m talking about Robots supporting humans in various areas.

And you could not only benefit from the technical advantages of modern technologies, you can also invest in them relatively safe via ETFs. Currently the market for robots has a value of about 64 billion USD, but is estimated for 1.200 billion Dollars in 2025, predicted by Myria Research, who are specialised on robotics and intelligent systems.

It´s a growing market with almost unlimited potential and the gold digger mentality hasn´t kicked into the mass of investors yet. Well, thats maybe true for almost the entire world, but not Japan. Having an average of 315 robots per 10.000 employees the land of the rising sun is the leader of the pack when it comes to automated manufactoring. However, the USA and the emerging markets, including China, are also on a good way.


You can compare the current situation on the robotics market with the dot-net market before the internet entered every household and aspect of our life. There are plenty of companies researching and developing new technologies, but which will remain and become maybe the next Apple or Alphabet can´t be told yet.

"In order to capture the growth potential of the robotic revolution, the opportunity must be defined from an investor’s perspective" is a quote from the website of Robo global, maybe the leader in developing robotic and automation indices. Thats also a reason why they issued a Robotics ETF in 2013 for the US market, and in 2014 for the EU market.

Here are a few robotics-ETFs in no particular order:

  • ROBO Global (R) Robotics and Automation GO
  • Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index
  • iShares Automation & Robotics
  • Vanguard Information Technology
  • Credit Suisse Global Robotics Equity
  • AXA World Funds Framlington Robotech
  • PowerShares NASDAQ Internet Portfolio
  • iShares Exponential Technologies

Almost all of them surpassed the MSCI Global Worlds index by far.

Single company stocks in robotics to have an eye on: 

  • Cyberdyne - Health - With their "Hybrid Assistive Limb" they are able to improve and enhance the limbs of paralized people so that they can walk again
  • iRobot - Household - Their vacuum cleaners hit a nerve in the internet of things environment
  • Intuitive Surgical - Health - Intuitive's da Vinci surgical robots enable high-precision, minimally invasive cuts, which provides a faster healing process
  • Fanuc - beside other things, they produce Industry robots for automatized production lines
  • Middleby Corp. - Automation - hybrid company - not robotics only, also in the food industry
  • Cognex - intelligent Barscanner technology
  • Rockwell - Smart manufacturing systems

Two more outside the stock market:

  • Amazon Robotics LLC- Logistics - added to the portfolio of services by acquiring Kiva Systems for 775.- million USD in 2014
  • Knightscope - Security - https://www.seedinvest.com/knightscope/series.m Shares currently availible for 3.- USDs on the Crowd Service plattform

It just has begun....

And this is just the start. As Elon Musk said, maybe it´s an "existential threat" to mankind in the future but till than, there are opportunities to benefit from our mechanical friends and the AI technology movement.