Japanese tech investment giant SoftBank Group and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) have said that they are going to study together how robots can be used in government, business, and society.
Without disclosing deeper details, the sovereign wealth fund and the Japanese fund will set up partnerships towards such a goal with companies, academics and government bodies across the world.
The move is seen as part of a larger move by the Saudi investment fund to diversify into new industries as crude oil prices refuse to rebound after their crash over the last two to three years.
To that end, the PIF has also invested $3.5 billion in US ride-hailing firm Uber, for example, and is on the lookout for other such deals.
The PIF is also an investor, along with other large investors, in SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, which is expected to make large investments within the technology sector across the world.
The robotics project is however outside of that investment agreement.
Spending on robotics is increasing rapidly and is expected to reach under $100 billion this year, up 18% from last year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). The number is expected to accelerate to reach $231 billion over five years.