They are replacing shop assistants and waiters, performing surgery, milking cows, driving cars and caring for the elderly - so how do you invest in the robot boom?

As machines become more and more a part of everyday life, the robotics industry is expected to grow to be worth £35 billion by 2025.

By the 2030s, robots will have taken more than 11 million jobs, according to consultancy Deloitte.

Thousands of units are being sold each year as companies switch to automated ways of working. Logistics firms use robots to pick stock and package it for delivery and they are used on factory floors and production lines.


Japan's robots move into new jobs
Resisting the robots

Robots are accurate, they can work for a long time without a break - and they learn incredibly quickly. Some need only be shown something once to be programmed to perform the task.

Shoppers are increasingly interested in robot products, too.

Last year in Japan, a family robot called Pepper - a type of butler for your home - sold out of its limited issue of 1,000 in less than a minute.

One robotics firm reported selling 188,000 units, worth £32 million, on Singles Day - a Chinese day of celebration for single people - in November. Its robotic products include vacuum cleaners, window cleaners and a security and air purification device.

They are also getting more affordable. A single unit will cost a business between £14,000 and £45,000 and it is only an average of six months before a company breaks even on the outlay.

Robots are now capable of performing just 10 pc of tasks on a manufacturing production line, but this could rise to 45 pc over the next decade.

Several technology and Japan funds are invested in robotics firms, offering exposure to the trend without putting all your eggs in one basket.


In hospitals, machines are estimated to have performed around 1.5 million operations worldwide. They are overseen by a surgeon using a computer and joystick who can work more accurately and without having to stand for hours.

With more operations performed through keyhole surgery, patients experience less pain, a quicker recovery and a shorter hospital stay.

It's not just humanoid machines performing complicated tasks. Robotics means driverless cars and even automated financial advice.

In Tokyo, a robot named ChihiraAico greets customers at a major department store, and Dubai officials have spoken of plans to introduce robocops by next year.

The Eatsa fast-food restaurant in San Francisco asks customers to order food on a tablet and collect it from a hatch.

Around 1.1million accommodation and food services workers will be replaced by machines in the next three decades, according to Deloitte.


Robots could also be capable of providing 24-hour care for the sick or elderly, detecting falls, checking blood pressure and reminding them to take pills. In agriculture, they can be used to automate milking or monitor the moisture and nutrient content of soil.

Pictet Robotics is the only fund currently  available to UK investors that focuses purely on the robotics industry.

It launched just three months ago, so does not have much of a track record. The fund invests in firms including German manufacturer Kuka and U.S.-based Intuitive Surgical, which has robots that perform operations.

Savers can still invest their money in this trend through a more established fund.

Several technology and Japan funds are invested in robotics firms, offering exposure to the trend without putting all your eggs in one basket.

The Aberdeen Global Technology Equity and Aberdeen Global Japanese Equity funds have around 3.5 pc of their cash in the industrial robot manufacturer Fanuc.

The £962 million Baillie Gifford Japanese fund has 2.6 pc of its money in Yaskawa Electric, which makes robots that provide physical therapy for stroke patients, among other products.