Our lives are undergoing profound changes, and digitization is entering almost all areas. Robots are already used massively in industry. They can do things more efficiently and thus faster and cheaper. But they are also conquering more and more private households. Lawn mowing and dust vacuuming are only the small beginning of a trend that cannot be stopped and is therefore also interesting for investors.

The robotic lady Sophia was developed by the company Hanson Robotics from Hong Kong and, according to the company’s ideas, is to be used in the future in customer service, for therapeutic purposes, and for the care of sick and elderly people. This is a major issue, as the aging population of society means that the number of over 60s will more than double to more than two billion by 2050. It is therefore no wonder that Asia, especially the rapidly ageing Japan, is pushing forward the use of robots in private households or in nursing homes. The United States has not taken the lead already in this area, but instead China and Japan put together account for almost 70 percent of all world-wide expenditures in the robot business. China wants to compensate for the dramatic rise in wages, so as to remain the largest, but also one of the cheapest, workbench of the world.

The automotive industry made the first step; robots on the assembly line screw their vehicles together. Now, however, intelligent machines are also pushing into other industrial sectors, such as electrical engineering, the metal processing industry, and the chemical and plastics industry. While robots were used in only 15 percent of production in 2015, this penetration is expected to reach a rate of 45 percent in many sectors in 2025. One reason for this is falling costs for robots. In the past decade, they have declined by 27 percent, while a further 22 percent decline in prices is expected by 2025. According to estimates by Bank of America, the market for the use of robots in automated processes alone is expected to grow by about 30 percent annually to $ 2.46 billion from 2017 to 2022.

The team of man and machine

At the same time, household robots are on the verge of being mass-produced, as the prices for self-regulating vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers have fallen sharply and are now costing not a few thousand, but only a few hundred euros. Other innovations are also on the market, ranging from appliances for the cleaning of grills, swimming pools, and cat toilets to camera drones and robots that take over ironing and even cooking.

It is therefore not surprising that scientists and the media express serious concerns that robots are increasingly taking over human work, thus leading to higher unemployment. This development has already begun in some industries. At the same time, however, a certain area in industrial robotics is experiencing enormous growth. The latest generation of industrial robots are “cobots”, so-called collaborative robots that do not work behind security barriers or in some kind of cage. These work together with people on the production line to improve their performance and perform tasks, the robots could not do alone otherwise. Integrated image processing systems and advanced software provide the cobots with excellent situational awareness. Here lies the potential for the future.

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to accelerate progress towards a dignified life in peace and prosperity for all people. The time has come for all of us – governments, industry, and civil society – when we must weigh how artificial intelligence will influence our future”, were the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a video message to the participants of the congress. There are opportunities and risks when using robots – exactly as with a Zeitgeist investment.

Robert Ruthmann
Robert Ruttmann

The combination of faster computing power and advances in artificial intelligence has raised robotics to a new level. Nevertheless, the topic is still in the children’s shoes. When costs fall and networks are built and accelerated, the sector can grow four times as much as the global economy.

werthstein giles keating thumbnail
Giles Keating

We have already launched the Zeitgeist in September 2016. Since then, the robotics industry has developed far better than the overall market. A lot of capital has been invested. The industry is no longer quite as attractive, but I think it still has a lot of growth potential.

Zeitgeist allocation

Published on 01.09.2016

Description Instrument ISIN TER Allocation
Global shares in the robotics and automation industry ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation GO UCITS ETF DE000A12GJD2 0.80% 100%

Index performance last 12 months: 

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