This article was updated on April 6, 2018, and originally published on Oct. 23, 2017.

Demand for industrial robotics has been soaring as companies across the globe adopt them in order to increase efficiency. Likewise, consumers are increasingly scooping up robots -- such as the ones made by iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) -- to perform household tasks, such as vacuuming.

Thanks to tremendous recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) by companies such as NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), the complexity of tasks that robots can perform is expanding as we zoom closer to a Jetsons-like reality where cars drive themselves, among other things.  

Investors who are interested in the burgeoning and interrelated robotics and AI spaces, but don't want to bet on just one or two players, might want to consider the Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (NASDAQ:BOTZ), often referred to as "BOTZ," which is its stock ticker symbol. 

Here's what you should know about the BOTZ ETF.

Humanoid robot standing in front of a digital screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF: Performance & the basics 

Before we dive in, you surely want to know how this ETF has been performing, right? The fund, which was started in September 2016, has gained more than 34% over the one-year period through mid-day trading on April 6, 2018, sprinting by the overall market, which has returned 14.2% over this period.

For some context, included in the chart below are the Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF's top five holdings, and competing ETF, ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF (NASDAQ:ROBO). ROBO, which was the first robotics ETF, currently has 96 holdings, so it's much more diversified than BOTZ, which has 29 holdings.

BOTZ Total Return Price Chart

Data by YCharts.

The BOTZ ETF invests in companies poised to benefit from increased adoption and use of robotics and AI, including those involved with industrial robotics and automation, non-industrial robots, and autonomous vehicles. BOTZ is an index fund, meaning its goal is to track the performance of the underlying index.

Given rising investor interest in robotics and AI, the fund has been growing very quickly. It had more than $2.46 billion in assets under management as of April 5, 2018, up from about $176 million at the end of the second quarter of 2017. The fund's current expense ratio is 0.68%, which is fairly reasonable.

The BOTZ ETF's top 10 holdings

Holding No. 

 Company

Market Cap 

Headquarters

Weight (% of Portfolio)

 1

 NVIDIA

 $133.9 billion

 U.S. 

 8.85%

 2

 Keyence

 $71.8 billion

 Japan

 8.15%

 3

 YASKAWA Electric 

 $11.9 billion

 Japan

 8.14%

 4

 Intuitive Surgical

 $45.6 billion

 U.S.

 8.09%

 5

 FANUC

 $48.1 billion

 Japan  7.90%

 6

 Mitsubishi Electric

 $34.2 billion

 Japan  7.04%

 7

 ABB

 $48.6 billion

 Switzerland  5.67%

 8

 Hyundai Robotics

 6.79 trillion won (KRW)

 S. Korea  5.28%

 9

 Omron

 $12 billion

 Japan  5.14%

 10

 SMC Corp.

 $26.2 billion

 Japan

 4.97%

Data sources: Global X and Yahoo! Finance. Data as of 4/5/18. 

iRobot, the ETF's 18th largest holding, deserves special mention. The company, best known for its top-selling Roomba robotic vacuum, is the only pure-play consumer robotics stock trading in the U.S. So investors wanting to bet on this niche might want to further explore the stock. iRobot stock has pulled back considerably from its summer 2017 highs due to concerns about increasing competition, particularly from new entrant SharkNinja. It's in the green just 2.6% over the past year, through mid-day trading on April 6, 2018, though it remains a big winner over the three-year period, as it's up 107%, versus the S&P 500's 35.7% return. 

Turning to BOTZ's top five holdings: NVIDIA, the fund's largest holding, has transformed itself in recent years from a company heavily focused on graphics processors for computer gaming and professional design applications into a company that's also an AI player. NVIDIA's graphics processing unit-based approach to the branch of AI known as deep learning has driven growth in its data center business, and it's in the early stages of igniting growth in its auto business from the emergence of self-driving vehicles. (In deep learning, an machine is trained to make inferences from data in a way similar to how humans do.) 

Keyence develops and manufactures factory automation solutions. YASKAWA Electric is a leading global manufacturer of low and medium voltage variable frequency drives, servo systems, machine controllers, and industrial robots. Intuitive Surgical is the leader in robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery. Lastly, FANUC specializes in factory automation. 

A solid option for AI & robotics investors

The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF, or BOTZ, does a solid job of representing a good global mix of robotics and AI players without being too diversified. It seems an attractive option for investors who want broad exposure to the fast-growing and interrelated AI and robotics realms. As previously mentioned, the ETF's expense ratio is a fairly reasonable 0.68%. 

Beth McKenna owns shares of Nvidia. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Intuitive Surgical, iRobot, and Nvidia. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.