Many attribute the recent stock surge to AI stock popularity. At the same time, it’s crucial to note that numerous companies are working silently beneath the radar. These companies are harnessing advanced AI and robotics to enhance operational efficiency. This quiet revolution is not limited to the technology sector but spans industries like manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and retail.
These businesses are leveraging AI for many functions. Core areas include predictive maintenance, advanced sensors, patient care, and construction management. AI and robotics have helped them streamline processes, reduce operational costs, and improve their product or service quality.
These companies may not make headlines like high-profile AI stocks. Still, their innovative technology has a profound and often underrated impact on their bottom line and future growth potential. Their success signifies that the influence of AI and robotics on the market extends far beyond the spotlight of popular tech stocks.
Robotics Stock: Medtronic (MDT)
In March, medical device manufacturer Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) promoted former Surgical Robotics president Mike Marinaro to Surgical Operating Unit vice president. The surprising move signaled Medtronic’s renewed emphasis on leveraging advanced robotics to better deliver surgical patient outcomes.
Critically, Medtronic also recently unveiled its robot-assisted surgery system, named Hugo. Hugo’s application requires surgeons to utilize an open console, which presents them with a detailed 3D view and facilitates precise manipulation of the robot’s arms and instruments. Proximie provides training for the device, enabling surgeons to watch live surgeries remotely and review past surgical recordings. This aids in honing the necessary proficiency to operate the system effectively. In 2022, the surgical robotics market held a value of $8.6 billion, and it’s projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 8%, reaching $15.8 billion by 2030.
AI Stock: Palantir (PLTR)
Last week, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called Palantir (NYSE:PLTR) the “Messi of AI.” Ives is the Managing Director for the firm’s Technology Sector desk, so, if anyone is qualified to forecast an AI stock’s potential, it’s him.
In the interview, Ives told the anchor that Palantir had “…a golden path right now [to] monetize what we view as a potentially $1 trillion market opportunity, and investors still have not recognized what this golden use could be.” That’s a big deal, considering Palantir is already popular among AI investors.
Already, Palantir has made significant waves amid the ongoing Eastern European conflict, delivering AI-enabled targeting results to Ukraine. Critically, though, Palantir has been in the AI space for more than two decades. The company has been quietly securing government and corporate contracts before it burst on the scene in 2020.
This longevity means Palantir isn’t simply riding an AI wave – it’s a core part of a growing industry.
AI Stock: Trimble (TRMB)
Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) is using advanced robotics to change the way construction companies complete projects. In June, Trimble and partner Boston Dynamics used the mobile robot dog Spot (already popular online from a series of testing videos) on a major construction project. The robot dog, smaller and nimbler than its human counterparts, used Trimble-enabled laser scanning technology to help site managers conduct quality control and find structural weaknesses in the project.
At the same time, Trimble is using AI to transform agriculture and farming. The company’s AI-driven path-planning technology is a significant part of off-road autonomous vehicles in agriculture. Basically, this means Trimble’s AI software is already working in the field to steer harvesting, spraying, and even soil-rolling equipment. Trimble’s diverse applications across critical industries mean the firm is well-positioned to be a dominant player in robotics and advanced AI moving forward.
Robotics Stock: Caterpillar (CAT)
In 2020, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) acquired a major Californian robotics company, and that investment is bearing fruit today. Caterpillar is using robotics, developed in-house and through its previous acquisition, to change the construction industry further. Today, that market remains untapped as only 13% of contractors use the technologies, but more than 60% think they’ll be critical in the future.
Caterpillar’s robotics solutions aren’t restricted to typical construction projects, either. In March, one solar company unveiled a robot built on Caterpillar’s platform that fully automates digging and trenching operations for solar farm installation.
With Caterpillar’s industry dominance and ability to produce massive equipment at scale, they’re ready to pivot wholly into robotics as the field delivers safer construction sites and more effective development projects.
AI Stock: Deere & Company (DE)
Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) uses robotics to achieve global sustainability goals, making the stock perfect for an impact-focused portfolio. In January, the company unveiled its ExactShot technology. The equipment reduces fertilizer waste by more than 60%, saving farmers money and reducing ground pollution.
That isn’t the end, though. Through robotics and predictive AI application, Vice President Deanna Jovar predicts that “eventually, we will literally treat every plant on an acre of a field differently based on what we’re learning through our computer vision and machine-learning tech.”
Like Caterpillar, Deere & Company’s (known widely as John Deere) agriculture industry dominance and production scale position the company perfectly for a global robotics pivot in farming.
Robotics Stock: General Motors (GM)
General Motors (NYSE:GM) uses advanced robotics on its vehicle assembly lines – and has for years. However, its advancements in peripheral robotic applications bode well for the stock. In 2022 GM partnered with NASA to develop a humanoid robot to assist humans on the ground and in space. The partnership is a no-brainer. GM’s existing robotics tech is adapted to the delicate maneuvering required for car creation and space-based science projects.
GM benefits from the partnership, too, though. With NASA, GM is developing a series of sensor and control technology they can employ across their production facilities at scale. Vice President for Global Research and Development Alan Taub summed up the benefits to GM: “When it comes to future vehicles, the advancements in controls, sensors and vision technology can be used to develop advanced vehicle safety systems [and build] better, higher quality vehicles in a safer, more competitive manufacturing environment.”
GM’s been on a winning streak recently, partnering with Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) to expand electric vehicle charging networks. Ultimately, GM’s been at the forefront of many robotics revolutions, and the undervalued stock has a strong future based on its tech.
AI Stock: AeroVironment (AVAV)
AeroVironment (NASDAQ:AVAV) is an underappreciated defense sector company with substantial prospects in AI. This company primarily develops drone tools. AeroVironment is best known for its flagship Raven UAS, extensively used by the US military and international allies. However, their secondary products conceal a wealth of AI potential, a move made ahead of the recent boom in AI trends.
The company already sees a demand surge for UAS products in the Ukrainian conflict. Critically, AeroVironment secured a spot in the US Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems project. The project will see AeroVironment deliver four air-based vehicles alongside a suite of mission control tools. Enabled by AI, AeroVironment’s future UAS projects will be on the cutting edge of the defense industry.
Wall Street is already taking notice of AeroVironment’s AI potential. The stock saw its short interest drop in July. At the same time, major institutional players are buying up AeroVironment stock as fast as they can. Investment giant BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) owns 18% of the company, and, if there’s anything retail investors interested in AI should do, it’s follow the smart money. And the smart money is betting on AeroVironment.
On the date of publication, Jeremy Flint had a LONG position in GM. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.