- The Consumer Electronics Show convenes the world’s largest tech companies.
- This year’s buzz focused on the future of self-driving cars and trucks.
- Major automakers are gearing up to disrupt the $7 trillion mobility market.
The holiday season flew in and out faster than Santa’s reindeer.
Time seems to move faster every year.
Christmas may be long gone for most, but for consumer electronic junkies like me, the holiday spirit is alive and well this week in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Every year in early January, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) convenes the world’s largest tech companies.
It also serves as a stage for tech companies to launch new, innovative products that will soon make their way to your living room, kitchen or garage.
This year’s CES buzz focused on the future of mobility, as self-driving cars and trucks are gearing up to disrupt the $7 trillion mobility market.
It will be the biggest development of the 2020s. This technology will impact where we live, the environment and even the cost of a vacation.
For these reasons, I’ve been keeping a keen eye on this year’s CES for any hint of when this sci-fi tech will become a reality.
Here are the biggest announcements from this week in Vegas…
A Glimpse at the Autonomous Vehicle Future
- Volkswagen announced Volkswagen Autonomy, a new nerve center in Silicon Valley, to support the development of self-driving cars and trucks. While Volkswagen is far behind Tesla and Google’s Waymo, added competition is always a healthy sign for the space.
- Toyota is building a 2,000-person “city of the future” in the foothills of Japan’s Mount Fuji. CEO Akio Toyoda described the new city as a “living laboratory” that will allow researchers, scientists and engineers to test emerging technology in a “real-life environment.” With a footprint of 175 acres, only fully autonomous and zero-emission cars will be permitted to operate on its streets.
- Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Vision AVTR, a fully autonomous concept car that looks like something from a sci-fi film … perhaps because it was designed by the team behind the Avatar films.
- Auto-parts supplier Aptiv announced new “Smart Vehicle Architecture” for self-driving cars. If these new vehicles are to successfully navigate roads in our techno-utopian future, they’re going to need intelligent software to tell the difference between a green and red light.
- U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao unveiled “AV 4.0,” outlining the most recent round of guidelines for autonomous vehicle makers in a speech at CES. What was more important in her speech was what she didn’t say. That led observers to believe that the Trump administration would largely get out of the way of self-driving innovation.
These announcements confirm my view that the autonomous vehicle future is going to happen faster than you think.
Automakers Are Forced to Play Catch-Up
Tesla’s stock, which has doubled in the past few months, is pricing in this reality.
Tesla and Google’s Waymo have massively disrupted the automotive industry, and now other automakers are forced to play catch-up.
It’s no wonder that Tesla, which plans to allow car owners to download full self-driving capability this year, boasts an $87 billion market cap. That’s bigger than General Motors ($49 billion) and Ford ($36 billion) combined.
It’s even possible that by next Christmas, Santa will have ditched his reindeer for a self-driving Tesla.
[Editor’s Note: As of March 3, 2020, Tesla’s market cap is now $142 billion.]
Editor, Automatic Fortunes
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