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Robots' Usage Rises Amid Coronavirus Crisis: ETFs to Gain

Sweta Jaiswal, FRM

The post pandemic world may look different as robots are reshaping the work environments. Robots already found takers in restaurants as they increasingly assume the role of bartenders and waiters. Moreover, armed with disinfectants and sanitizers, they are seen taking care of visitors on various corporate campuses. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the application of robots was not just limited to industrial use but a plethora of other areas like manufacturing, healthcare, defense and security, logistics, inspection and maintenance, automotive, electronics, and food and beverage. This technology is witnessing a sharp climb in usages during the coronavirus times.

It is believed that employing service robots may help the severely-hit hotel industry to rebound faster on the back of accelerated efficiency. Per a Business Standard article, lead author-cum-lecturer in Hospitality at the University of Surrey, said that the “application of service robots in the hotel industry is on the rise. With the added factor of a need to reassure potential guests that their stays will be compatible with minimised social contact and human interaction, this process could be accelerated”.

Robots come in handy in combatting the coronavirus pandemic by enabling mobile unmanned platforms with ultraviolet light (UV-C) to kill harmful microorganisms and disinfect facilities, such as hospitals, office spaces, shopping malls, schools, airports and production facilities. In such a scenario, the mobile robotics market looks flooded with opportunities as robots are being effectively used for jobs like sanitizing hospitals, homes and workplaces along with monitoring, surveying, handling and delivering food and medicines.

Robots are being widely used in warehouses of giants like Alibaba BABA and others to automate and streamline order completion. Delivery application Meituan Dianping expanded its “contactless delivery” options through autonomous vehicles and robots. According to 3rd Watch News report, based on the teeming prospects that the coronavirus pandemic gave rise to, the autonomous delivery robots market is expected to see a CAGR of above 49.5% during the 2020-2025 forecast period.

Robotic ETFs to Consider

We shortlisted the following ETFs for our investors to check out:

Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF BOTZ

The fund tracks investment results that correspond generally to the performance of the Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index. Notably, the fund provides exposure to the performance of companies that benefit from the rising adoption of AI, robotics and automation. The fund has 37 holdings with AUM of $1.51 billion. It charges 68 bps in fees (read: These ETF Areas Make Great Investment Choices in June).

ROBO Global Robotics & Automation ETF ROBO

The fund invests in global companies that are driving transformative innovation in robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (RAAI) including companies that create technology to enable truly intelligent systems to sense, process and act, and companies that apply those technologies to deliver RAAI-enabled products — including robots — to businesses and consumers. The product has 87 holdings with AUM of $1.26 billion. It charges 95 bps in fees (read: Healthcare Tech & Robotics ETFs in Focus Amid COVID-19 Crisis).

First Trust Nasdaq Artificial Intelligence and Robotics ETF ROBT

The fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield, before the fees and expenses of the Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index. The product has 102 holdings with AUM of $106.8 million. It charges 65 bps in fees.

iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Multisector ETF IRBO

The fund tracks investment results that correspond generally to the performance of the NYSE FactSet Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Index. Notably, the fund provides exposure to companies that could benefit from long-term growth and advancement in robotics and AI. The fund has 102 holdings with AUM of $126.8 million. The fund charges 47 bps in fees (read: Here's Why You Should Invest in Robotics ETFs).

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