In America, which together with Europe seems to be the perfect lab for the revolution of self-driving vehicle technology, so far only four states have regulated the access of driverless autos on public roads.
But automakers, industry analysts, experts and even technology companies believe that self-driving vehicles would be viable for controlled environmental usage (mainly highways and initially only partly-autonomous cars) by 2020. And recent and numerous studies on the matter have concluded that an overwhelming majority of Americans are willing to pay extra for the technology or even purchase a fully autonomous robotic car. Unlike electric cars – which failed to revolutionize the auto industry to the extent forecasted just a decade ago – autonomous cars will not need any replacement of the current standards – they don’t need recharging stations, they can go as fast or as long as a regular car.
So, taking for granted that such technology and vehicles would be widely used in the not so distant future, let’s talk investment strategies. Mainly, who’s going to have the edge when autonomous cars are a reality. Let’s start with the unlikely candidate – Google. They already gear up to have 100 prototypes of cuddly two-seaters that lack a steering wheel or brake pedals. Then there’s Audi, Mercedes and Nissan – all of them seeing self-driving models on the roads between 2020 and 2025. And, naturally they would need to buy from suppliers all the underlying technology: Freescale Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, Mobileye, STMicroelectronics, Nokia, Delphi Automotive, Autoliv, Continental and Robert Bosch.