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Robotic ETFs to Gain on Rising Demand Amid Coronavirus Crisis

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The coronavirus pandemic continues to aggravate as the number of confirmed cases in the United States have soared to more than 347,000, with the death toll crossing 10,000. Top U.S. government scientists have estimated that even if the current social-distancing guidelines are maintained, the country will likely see around 100,000-240,000 deaths. Globally, the number of infected cases has risen to more than 1.27 million.

Given the highly-contagious nature of the virus, the WHO has advised social distancing for people across the globe to contain community level transmission. In such a scenario, the mobile robotics market is flooded with opportunities as robots are being used for jobs such as sanitizing hospitals, homes and workplaces along with monitoring, surveying, handling and delivering food and medicines.  Resultantly, per a new analysis by ABI Research, the mobile robotics market is forecasted to grow to $23 billion by 2021. In this context, Dr Susanne Bieller, General Secretary of the International Federation of Robotics has said that “robots have a great potential of supporting us in the current severe corona pandemic" (read: ETFs to Gain on Cloud Computing Growth Amid Coronavirus Crisis).

The current conditions seem favorable for the robotic markets in government applications such as health, security and defense. In this regard, Rian Whitton, senior analyst at ABI Research, has said that, “for mobile robotics vendors and software companies targeting more nascent markets, this represents a big chance to highlight the importance of robotics for dealing with national emergencies, as well as mitigating the economic shock.”

Before the 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. Let’s see how robots are gaining importance in order to minimize human-to-human contacts.

Robots Combating Coronavirus Globally

Robots have found their applications 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 fact, Dr Lena Ciric, an associate professor at University College London and expert on molecular biology, also believes that UV disinfection robots can help combat the coronavirus outbreak.U.S.-based-Germ Falcon is manufacturing a similar UV disinfection solution for aircraft. UVD Robots, a Danish organization formed from Odense University Hospital and Blue Ocean Robotics, has already received orders for more than 2000 UVD robots from hospitals in China.

Moving on, hospitals in Thailand are deploying “ninja robots” to check fever and support medical workers in combating the outbreak.

The lockdowns across the globe are driving demand for essential goods and as such grocery stores are hiring more workers to meet the rising demand. In such a scenario, Tally,  Simbe Robotics' autonomous shelf-scanning robot has been used in Schnucks Markets and Giant Eagle stores. Robots have also found themselves usage in the real estate market. For instance, Zenplace, a real estate start-up, has made available both virtual tours and tours with robots. The robots are provided with a screen, where the real estate agent can communicate with the customer in a video chat and lead them around the house.

Robots are being used in warehouses of giants like Alibaba (BABA - Free Report) and others to automate and streamline order completion. A delivery application, Meituan Dianping, has expanded its “contactless delivery” options through autonomous vehicles and robots. Using robots for home delivery of drugs and meals, Shenzhen-based startup Pudu Technology is also combatting the outbreak.

Going on, per an editorial published in the journal Science Robotics on Mar 25, robots can also be used for managing contaminated waste and also reconnaissance, including monitoring compliance of voluntary quarantines.

Robotic ETFs to Shine

We have shortlisted the following ETFs for our investors to consider:

Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ - Free Report)

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, which benefit from the rising adoption of AI, robotics and automation. The fund has 38 holdings with AUM of $1.01 billion. It charges 68 bps in fees (read: Ride the Thematic Investing Trend With These ETFs).

ROBO Global Robotics & Automation ETF (ROBO - Free Report)

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 that can 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 $867.9 million. It charges 95 bps in fees (read: Are Robotic ETFs the Right Choice for 2020?).

First Trust Nasdaq Artificial Intelligence and Robotics ETF (ROBT - Free Report)

The fund seeks investment results that corresponds generally to the price and yield, before the fees and expenses of the Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index. The product has 99 holdings with AUM of $60.5 million. It charges 65 bps in fees.

iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Multisector ETF (IRBO - Free Report)

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 103 holdings with AUM of $72 million. The fund charges 47 bps in fees.

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