5 Apr, 2018 image

Even in a down market, the robotics trajectory is up and away!

Investing in a down market requires a higher level of due diligence. While it can feel a bit more daunting, if you’re aiming for long-term gains, you can actually find yourself in a sweet spot—especially if you’re able to identify opportunities that are poised for growth, no matter what the state of the market overall. If you’re seeking a buy low/sell high opportunity (and, quite frankly, who isn’t?), the first place to look may be the exciting and fast-growing universe of robotics.

Robotics is fascinating. Yes, it’s a great investment opportunity. But even more, the innovations that are happening right under our noses are downright amazing. Even for me—someone who spends most of my days learning and talking about robotics, automation, and AI—I find myself constantly surprised by just how fast the industry is delivering real innovations that will impact our lives in very real ways. And soon. Here are just a few of the latest innovations that have me on the edge of my seat:

Automated (and Flying!) Cars

Flying cars from the Jetsons are finally becoming a reality! As a recent transplant from San Francisco to the Dallas suburb of Frisco (sorry, SF friends!), I was more than a little surprised to hear about Uber’s groundbreaking project at Frisco Station, just a few miles away from my new home. In this unlikely location, Uber recently signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to create its own air traffic control system to manage low-flying, autonomous aircraft that will take passengers into the heart of downtown in no time. This video shows how the planned aerial taxi service will help this mom get home to the kids after a day at the office.

And Uber isn’t alone. More than a dozen companies currently have flying cars in the works, including Airbus, Boeing, and Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk. Uber expects its cars to be in the air by 2023. That’s just 5 short years away!

Of course, there’s no doubt that before anyone is ready for an autonomous flying car, we need to get comfortable with having self-driving cars on the road. Last month’s crash of a self-driving Tesla made a lot of headlines and brought the technology under new scrutiny, but autonomous vehicles are still much safer than cars operated by humans. The potential to reduce traffic accidents will ultimately be what turns this technology into a must-have for personal and commercial use.

According to market research firm Research & Markets,
the global autonomous vehicles market revenue is expected to grow
by more than 39% per year, to $126.8 billion by 2027.

Medical Robots

The use of robotics in the healthcare industry is nothing new, but it is advancing at a rapid pace. The Renaissance Robot from Mazor Robotics has already improved surgical accuracy by 9% by enabling surgeons to place screws in spines with 99% accuracy.

The popular da Vinci surgical system from Intuitive Surgical uses advanced robotics to turn a surgeon’s hand motions into smaller, more precise robotic movements to improve procedures like prostate cancer treatment and heart valve surgery. And IBM’s Watson gathers and analyzes information from cancer patients and compares it to massive amounts of stored information to help make more accurate diagnoses.

Google, Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard are some of the big names that are making major investments in medical robotics, but there are many smaller players in this sector too.

According to market research firm Frost & Sullivan,
AI in the healthcare and life sciences sector is projected to grow
by 40% per year, to $8.5 billion in 2021.

Companion Robots

By now, Alexa and other home assistants have become commonplace, but mobile in-home robots are quickly upping the game. Buddy from Blue Frog Robotics operates on two wheels and uses sensors, cameras, and microphones to hear and speak with the whole family.

Buddy can help with the chores, play with the kids, and help manage and protect your home by connecting to other smart devices. Buddy’s ability to express joy, anger, sadness, and ever grumpiness makes it fit right in with the rest of the family. Other in-home robots like the Aeolus Bot may not be quite as cute as Buddy, but they can do a lot of the same tasks—and more, using arms and hands that can pick up, hold, and manipulate objects (think your vacuum cleaner!). Ubtech’s Robotics Walker even walks on two legs, which opens the door to a whole new range of possibilities. And while having a robot dance around the house might not top your list of must-have innovations, it won’t be long before companion robots like this one will be able to tackle folding your laundry and even walk your robotic dog!

According to P&S Market Research,
the global 
personal robots market is projected to grow
more than 37% per year, to $34,120.3 million by 2022.

Perhaps what’s most fascinating about robotics today is that tomorrow’s growth is not limited to only the largest industry players. Far from it. In fact, many smaller companies are delivering some of the most exciting innovations. For investors, this means that seeking out well-researched companies across the entire robotics supply chain is key. Look for opportunities where you least expect them, and include innovators that span every technology, industry focus, size, and geography. In such a fast-moving environment, new market leaders are emerging every day. That means that even when the stock market is down, there will be no shortage of robotics companies that remain poised for tremendous growth. It’s all a matter of meeting the never-slowing demand for robotics innovation. And regardless of the state of the stock market, our desire for better, faster, smarter robots seems to be insatiable.

By Chris Buck, ROBO Global

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