Last View, we talked semiconductors. This week it’s autonomous vehicles in part 2 of our Capital Group series on the 10 most exciting (and in some cases life-changing) developments they believe will shape the world to come.
Ready for a ride in your robotaxi?
Imagine getting into your car, typing—or, better yet speaking—a location into your vehicle’s interface, then letting it drive you to your destination while you read a book, surf the web, or even take a quick nap. Self-driving vehicles—the stuff of science fiction since the first roads were paved—are coming, and they’re going to radically change what it’s like to get from point A to point B.
Equity portfolio manager Chris Buchbinder believes that in 2030 we will have broadly deployed fleets of autonomous electric vehicles operating in cities throughout the world.
“Ownership of a personal vehicle will go from being a necessity to a luxury. Many people will still have vehicles — just like people ride horses or bicycles for fun —but they will no longer be necessary as a primary form of transportation in major cities.
“This is an area I believe the market has yet to fully appreciate. At the moment, the market leaders are embedded in other companies — such as Alphabet’s Waymo, Amazon’s Zoox or the Cruise division of GM — so investors can’t buy a pure-play autonomous driving company. But as these fleets roll out more publicly, the market should start to re-evaluate these companies and realise this is a real business, not a science project. As vehicles become more about technological components and less about traditional manufacturing, winners will emerge from a variety of industries.
“I also think 2030 is when we’re likely to see hybrid electric engines and hydrogen engines introduced into commercial aircraft, with widespread deployment over the following 5 to 10 years. The impact on global emissions could be significant if we transition to a world with autonomous electric vehicles on the road and aircraft transportation shifting from oil-based fuel to a mixture of oil, electricity and hydrogen.”
The hype around driverless cars has grown rapidly over the past several years, with many big technology companies (as mentioned above) getting behind the concept.
With the adoption of any new revolutionary technology, it is predicted there will be problems for businesses that don’t adjust fast enough to future developments. Futurists estimate that hundreds of billions of dollars (if not trillions) could be lost by automakers, suppliers, dealers, parking companies, and many other car-related enterprises. And think of the lost revenue for personal injury lawyers and the profound impact on insurance companies.
After all, who needs a car made with heavier-gauge steel and eight airbags if accidents are so rare? Who needs a parking spot close to work if your car can drive you there, park itself miles away, only to pick you up later?
However it plays out, these vehicles are coming— their full adoption will take decades, but their convenience, cost, safety, and other factors will make them ubiquitous and indispensable. Such as with any technological revolution, the companies that plan ahead, adjust the fastest and imagine the biggest will survive and thrive. And companies invested in old technology and practices will need to evolve or risk dying.