You cannot purchase a self-driving automobile with fully autonomous abilities (usually called Level 5 or Level 4 autonomy) after your visit to the local vehicle dealership. Yet, you can get the cars with ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), which enables the vehicle to control particular aspects of operating the direction and speed on their own, such as adaptive cruise control and emergency braking.
Thanks a part to these ADAS, you can expect the early beginnings of autonomous cars that will someday, hopefully, rule the road.
For investors who are searching for ways of benefiting from the ultimate rise of autonomous vehicles, the great news is, a handful of businesses have been making considerable strides in ADAS today and are highly likely to make the most of increased vehicle autonomy soon.
Here is why you had better have your eyes on Tesla, Waymo, NVIDIA, GM CRUISE, and ARGO AI.
The Best Companies That Are Steering The Movement
While you can find many autonomous vehicle firms these days, some are more outstanding when compared to others. Depending on public statements and empirical data made by numerous enterprises, the most advanced companies in the self-driving community include:
Though vehicles from Tesla are not fully autonomous, the company does provide ADAS features in its models. With its Autopilot system, the brand’s vehicles are capable of steering, braking, and accelerating automatically, while a driver enables those attributes. Also, the “Navigate on Autopilot” from Tesla can steer its vehicles toward interchanges as well as exits.
The company’s vehicles have not been able to operate themselves entirely. Still, its ultrasonic sensors, radar, cameras, and other onboard techs are intended for offering expanded semi-autonomous driving abilities in the coming years.
To reach there, Tesla is making use of the technology it has in its cars currently to train the future’s driver-assistance systems. In other words, most of the vehicles manufactured by the company are a data-collection machine as well. It is being leveraged to enhance the software, which, according to Tesla, will, in the end, allow its cars to drive themselves.
What should be the perk here for investors? The brand understands in-depth how crucial ADAS is to the thriving automotive industry, and is taking actions today to benefit at a later time.
Previously popular as a self-driving vehicle project from Google, Alphabet’s Waymo has worked on autonomous cars for years and become one of the top leaders in this space. Later in 2018, it introduced Waymo One, a commercial automated ride-sharing service in Arizona. This launch enables users to ride in an autonomous van to do things, such as going to school or picking up groceries.
Just a couple of months ago, Waymo took a considerable step with the automated car technology and started getting rid of the need for the human safety drivers from the reliable Waymo One service. That way, users can take rides all over the town in an entirely autonomous means of transport.
The company shared, at the end of 2019, it welcomed 1,500 monthly active users who have relied on Waymo One to take trips.
Alphabet makes most of its revenue from Google, but its Waymo business could ultimately bring in sales by licensing its automated-car software to tech firms and automakers.
Morgan Stanley lately valued Waymo at approximately $105 billion, and Alphabet also has clarified that it has money-making from Waymo as the ultimate purpose. While, for that to come true, it may be a while, undoubtedly Alphabet’s Waymo is perfectly able to do so once there is money to get made from self-driving vehicles.
This company has spent years developing semi-autonomous driving systems, and over 370 firms and researchers count on its tech these days. Though the core business of NVIDIA is producing graphics processors, it has applied some of that advanced technology to the DRIVE platform of the firm, thus enabling vehicles to process vast quantities of image data fast.
Recently, NVIDIA made public DRIVE AutoPilot, its semi-autonomous platform’s new version, and announced that it is the “world’s first commercially available Level 2+ automated driving system.” There are outstanding features in this Level 2 autonomy, including making highway exits and entrances and changing lanes.
According to the company, the platform will be useful for automakers to scale to higher autonomy levels more quickly than before.
As the long-term bet from NVIDIA on self-driving cars is only getting started, investors may need to wait a while for its autonomous driving potential to unblock. On a brighter note, with early moves of the company in this market, together with its existing DRIVE platform capabilities, it is currently positioning itself for a bright self-driving future.
GENERAL MOTORS CRUISE (GM CRUISE)
It is in quite a good position. Not all, Cruise is an influential name in the autonomous car game.
Billions of dollars in investments from GM, Honda, SoftBank, as well as T.Rowe Price Associates allows GM Cruise to introduce a substantial number of cars on the road. One hundred eighty automobiles in testing are thus far the second largest quantity of vehicles put to the test. The company has shown a strong desire and determination to succeed in launching them.
GM Cruise has built its autonomous cars from the ground-up. While the Chevy Bolts may have a similar look to a regular retail unit, the firm has altered up to 40% of its parts to facilitate self-driving.
Unlike other self-driving vehicle businesses, having in-depth integration with one of the biggest automakers in the world like General Motors has put Cruise in a particular way to produce automated vehicles on a top-notch assembly line from Orion, Michigan. In case you missed it, this line can manufacture hundreds of thousands of cars annually.
The Cruise cars leverage IoT sensors, cloud-based tools, and machine learning techniques to put together data about their surroundings as well as making the best decisions depending on that insight.
Argo AI, as a newer creation, has a considerable footprint and growing footprint in America with many cities that they have been testing in. What is more, with a promising partnership with Volkswagen, the company has the potential to reach the leadership position,
An independent firm, Argo AI has been around since 2017, with Ford Motor Company’s $1 billion investment. Volkswagen has joined the partnership not long ago; it is expectedly pouring into another $2.6 billion.
Argo AI concentrates on and becomes an expert on a different platform compared to its competitors. Instead of trying to develop a vehicle or run a service, it aims at improving the self-driving system.
In case you do not know, the vehicles currently used are Ford Fusions, yet it does not need to be the intent of what the end model will be. Ford is the one to determine which cars they desire to use.
The perk of close partnerships with automobile producers is that Argo AI can pay attention to the technology, enhancing it at a far deeper level.
The Argo AI-equipped cars’ outside have a precious combination of sensors — radars, LiDARs, and cameras. The distance of objects is locatable thanks to the LiDAR. Cameras do a fantastic job of depth perception.
Two individuals are always in all of the cars from Argo AI, in case the automobile needs a driver’s intervention. The second person is available to help take notes on the behavior and functionality of the vehicle, locating areas that the software can be better.
According to Argo AI, in the short term, the company can essentially put the system at the maturity level that is far beyond what other firms of its age have been capable of doing.
The Verdict: Be Patient
There has been plenty of talk regarding self-driving vehicles for years now, yet the fact stays that ubiquitous fully automated cars are still a pretty long way to go. Yes, the firms mentioned above are making considerable strides in this market today. It will again take time before the related technology becomes flawless, though.
What does it mean for investors expecting to benefit from the market? There needs to play a waiting game. While brand-new models are gaining more autonomy year by year, it will be a gradual transition from the autonomy levels you see these days to the cutting-edge Level 4 and Level 5 completely autonomous self-driving cars that could be the transportation’s future.