Investing in Driverless Cars Tech? Here Are the Major Players
For successful stock trading, not only do you need to select the right stocks to buy, but you also need to identify the right industry to invest in.
Driverless cars seem to be having great investment potential. But before you invest in anything, it is important that you learn all you can about the industry and its scope.
Tech and automobile majors are putting in a great deal of money and resources into autonomous vehicles and looking to develop systems that can operate vehicles safely on public roads without any human intervention. When fully developed, autonomous vehicles can transform mobility and transportation in cities. That can in turn transform traffic rules, road and town planning, vehicle ownership, and a lot more. Self-driving cars could be major disruptors. But how close are they to that full realization?
Google’s ($GOOGL) Waymo, which started off as Google Self-Driving Car Project, is a key player in this field. Having conducted extensive testing and experimentation, Waymo claims it could launch a self-driving taxi service by the end of 2018 in at least one American city. To prove that this is a serious plan and not just empty talk, Waymo has placed orders for 82,000 vehicles from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover to modify with Waymo’s self-driving tech. Deliveries are expected to arrive in late 2018.
The vehicles FCA will be delivering are the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans developed jointly by Waymo and FCA. 600 of them have already been built as part of the test fleet of Waymo. Riders of Waymo’s taxi service will also be able to choose the Jaguar I-Pace electric vehicle which will be equipped with self-driving tech. That is to be delivered in the coming two years. While the Waymo fleet would initially contain the Pacifica and I-Pace, more vehicles from other manufacturers would be added in future.
Based on the years of testing and its proximity to launching a full-fledged autonomous taxi service, Waymo is the market leader in this industry.
But General Motors ($GM) is getting there too. It was clear just how serious it was about getting ahead in the autonomous race when it purchased the Cruise Automation driverless vehicle startup back in 2016. Soon after, Cruise started its efforts to create an automated ride-hailing service. While GM funded the project and diverted significant resources to it, Cruise has been given the independence to develop the project in the best possible manner. GM’s software may be behind Waymo’s in terms of development, but it is crucially ahead of the other rivals out there. And GM has the car in tow, the Chevrolet Bolt EV. This electric car is being modified by Cruise for incorporating the autonomous vehicle technology, with the modified car being called GM Cruise.
GM’s Cruise autonomous driving efforts have received a big boost with funding worth $2.25 billion from SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund. Not only has SoftBank acquired a 19.6% stake in GM Cruise, but it also gives Cruise access to top ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Didi Chuxing in which it has major stakes. That presents a win-win situation for GM Cruise and these ride-hailing companies. These companies need to have self-driving taxis that can be run profitably, and GM finally gets some customers to get its Cruise self-driving vehicles to.
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