COVID-19 Will Upend the Robotics Market, but not Necessarily for the Worse

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2Q 2020 | IN-5777


A Bull Market


The year 2019 was an unprecedented year of strength for the robotics investment landscape. Both venture and corporate entities ploughed money into autonomous systems, with a concentration of funds going to Autonomous Passenger Vehicles (APVs), surgical robots, and robots for warehousing and logistics. While US$28 billion was invested over 320 separate rounds, corporations also acquired robotics companies at an accelerating rate, with 77 deals making US$17 billion for the year.

Three months into 2020, however, COVID-19 is enacting havoc on the global economy, with major tumbles across all major stock markets. This follows a decade-long bull run fueled by flat interest rates and wracking up large deficits. While all economic sectors could suffer from a transition into a bear market, the robotics industry could be affected more than most others, for better and for worse.

There are some significant challenges facing robotics in light of the economic shock. The industrial robotics sector is entirely dependent on capital expenditure from major manufacturing sectors and is particularly reliant on the auto…

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