NVIDIA milestone helps keep the D20’s 2018 streak of gains intact

NVIDIA (NVDA) has passed a significant milestone. Since the Driverless Transportation Stock Index (D20) was re-calibrated in August of 2015, NVIDIA has grown its market value a whopping ten times.  A thousand dollars of NVIDIA stock purchased in August of 2015 at $22.73 a share, is now valued at more than ten thousand dollars with a share of its stock price now worth $230.11.  After market analysts continue to praise the stock this week, NVIDIA was up 3.3 percent or $7.35 this week making it, a D20 leading, 26.7 percent of the index.

2018 has only been positive for the D20, as thirteen price gainers out-dueled seven price losers to help the index to its third consecutive week of gains.  The D20’s 0.9 percent gain matched the Dow’s 1.0 percent value bump and the S&P 500’s 0.9 percent climb.

After announcing an agreement to supply driverless buses to Singapore in 2019, Volvo AB’s stock (STO:VOLV-B) jumped 4.5 percent to close at SEK 165.3 and be the D20 leading price percentage leader.  At the other end of the spectrum, Ford (F) dropped, a D20 leading, 9.3 percent this week to close at $12 a share on disappointing earnings guidance.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

 One year old Pony.ai, the brain child of James Peng and Tiancheng Lou, has raised $112 million in Series A venture round to build a fully Driverless car.  Peng, who hails from Baidu, got his introduction to driverless vehicles when Baidu, the Chinese Search giant, launched an autonomous project.  Lou got his start in driverless technology unit at Google, before that unit became Waymo.  Their goal is to build and offer a complete driverless vehicle, not just components or sub-systems.

Mapbox absorbs another mapping company to continue its effort in competing with D20 components, Google Maps (GOOG) and TomTom (TOM2), building mapping applications.  Mapbox acquired the developers behind the Mapzen Vahalla Project when that open source project ran into funding difficulties.  Since 2012, Mapbox has raised $227 million dollars in four rounds of venture funding.

CTS and CES 2018: Automotive Tech Innovators Ready to Wow in Las Vegas

In just a few days, Las Vegas will be buzzing with tech innovators from not only the world’s top electronics companies, but also dozens of automakers and firms working on connected and automated driving systems.

It all starts with the 2018 Consumer Telematics Show (CTS), which takes place Monday, Jan. 8 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

2018 Consumer Telematics Show (CTS)

CTS aims to bring together power players from automakers and technology companies that are working on connected and autonomous driving systems. Attendees can listen to presentations and forums with top executives and engineers from big-name companies, and have the chance to network.

The long list of companies confirmed to attend and/or participate in this year’s event includes Volvo, Volkswagen, Jaguar Land Rover, NVIDIA, AT&T, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Bose, BMW, Denso, Honda, Ford Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini, Nissan, and many more.

See an up-to-date list of attendees on the CTS website here.

Highlights from this year’s list of speakers include:

  • Volkswagen of America: Burkhard Huhnke, Senior VP of e-mobility
  • Karma Automotive: Ken Stewart, Chief Business and Technology Officer
  • Hyperloop One: Matt Jones, Senior VP of Software
  • General Motors (GM): Kurt Hoppe, Global Head of Innovation – Connected Cars; and Nick Pudar, Director of Strategic Initiatives
  • Mobileye: Uri Tamir, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives
  • Continental: Lars Shultheiss, Head of Sales & Portfolio, Business Unit Infotainment & Connectivity
  • Audi: Brad Stertz, Director of Government Affairs
  • IBM: Rajiv Phougat, Chief Technologist – Industry Solutions, AAD

Forums and presentations at this year’s event cover a wide array of relevant topics, including the automotive data revolution, next-generation user experiences, the coming reality of autonomous vehicles, connected vehicle cybersecurity concerns, cities and mobility, electric vehicles and more.

The full agenda and schedule for CTS 2018 is available here. 

2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Later in the week, the 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) hits Las Vegas, from Jan. 9-12.

For roughly 50 years, CES has been drawing in technology enthusiasts and producers from all over the world. It is often the place where companies officially unveil their newest products and technologies, with flashy presentations. Many times they also show off lofty concepts that haven’t even been fully developed yet, in a bid to impress.

Two venues–the Venetian’s ballroom and the Monte Carlo’s Park Theater–will play host to a long list of keynote speakers this year, which will hail from companies like Intel, Ford Motor Co., the Huawei Consumer Business Group, Baidu, Qualcomm, Verizon, Comcast, Discovery Communications, YouTube, Hulu, and many more. See a full list of this year’s speakers, as well as videos from many of last year’s speeches, on the CES website here.

Though CES initially started out as an event mostly focused on the latest consumer gadgets, it has come to be quite the showcase for the latest in automotive innovation as well. Specifically, in the last decade, many automakers are choosing to show off the progress they are making toward connected and self-driving vehicles. In fact, it was named one of the 10 best automotive shows worldwide by USA Today recently.

This year, forums on topics such as “Autonomous Vehicles in the Cities of Tomorrow,” “The Future of Mobility and Autonomy” and “Cybersecurity and the Auto Industry” are scheduled to take place this year, with panelists from power players like Deloitte, Mobileye, General Motors, Renesas Electronics, Harman and Movement.ai are scheduled to take part.

Major media outlets like TechCrunch and The Verge predict that the automotive portion of this year’s show will be significant.

“Once again, a number of top car companies will be present, including Ford and Toyota. My guess is you’ll be seeing A LOT of self-driving car demo videos out of this year’s show,” TechCrunch said in an advance article.

“The auto industry is flush with [electric vehicle] and smart mobility startups these days. Tesla is still the most sound competitor to any of the big three automakers, but there’s a CVS receipt-sized list of others trying to fill the space between ‘tech company’ and ‘car company,'” said The Verge in their own preview article. “Many of them will be at CES showing off autonomous shuttles, self-driving technologies, electric scooters, and other futuristic transportation ideas — all things that companies like Ford (or Google, Intel, GM, you name it) are also working on in different capacities.”

In fact, The Verge reports that Byton, a Chinese automaker that has poached a lot of talent from Faraday Future, will be at CES showing off their first car — an all-electric SUV that it’s referring to as a “Smart Intuitive Vehicle.”

Get all the information you could ever need about 2018 CES on the official event page here.

Image: Toyota unveils a concept car at 2017 CES / Credit: CES Photo Gallery

Waymo to Partner With Insurance Startup For Self-Driving Car Passengers

Jennifer van der Kleut

Waymo, Google’s self-driving spin-off company, is reportedly forming a partnership with an startup out of Danville, California to insure passengers of its future self-driving car-hailing service, according to multiple news outlets including the Wall Street Journal.

The startup, based in Danville, California, is called Trov, Inc. Trov CEO Scott Walchek said the company will be working with Waymo “behind the scenes” to insure riders for any medical expenses, property damage or lost property. Walchek also said that, in most cases, the passengers won’t even be aware, since passengers won’t be charged for the service.

Waymo previously said it hopes to launch a test of its driverless ride-hailing service — which will be similar to apps like Uber and Lyft but with a driverless fleet — with at least a few vans in the Phoenix Metro area by next year.

Tesla Model 3 Delivery Rumors Help Keep D20 Stock Index Even

The rumors circulating that deliveries of the Tesla Model 3 have significantly ramped up helped keep the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) from suffering from a third consecutive weekly loss. 

Hundreds of Tesla Model 3 vehicles have appeared at delivery centers, leading the market to believe that the automaker has conquered its production problems after a slow start, and is finally creating the vehicles at the rate they originally planned.

Tesla stock has responded appropriately, gaining 9.0 percent this week, while being the leading price-percentage gainer for the D20 in each of the last two weeks.

With 11 price losers and nine gainers, the D20 remained unchanged this week, closing at 252.14 and stopping a slide after two consecutive weeks of losses. For the third week in a row it lost ground to both the Dow, which gained 1.3 percent, and the S&P 500, which inched up 0.9 percent and closed at 2,675.81.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers: 

Upstream, an Israeli-based startup, has announced it has landed a $9-million Series A round of funding. The focus of the startup is on security for connected vehicles. It aims to protect vehicles that use services like On-Star with a cloud-based SaaS application versus an on-board security application.

Ouster, a LiDAR startup, announced it has raised $27 million in a Series A, to push its technology into mass production. Its first product, a 64-channel sensor called OS1, is available now and priced at $12,000. The company has focused on design for manufacturability and has monthly production targets of 1,000 in January 2018 and tens of thousands by the end of 2018.

Image: Tesla Model 3 / Credit: Tesla Motors

News Roundup: Ford Teases All-New Hybrid-Electric Self-Driving Car, Ouster Puts Its Autonomous Drive Sensor Up For Sale Online, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

Ford teases all-new hybrid-electric car designed specifically as a self-driving model

Ford Motors’s executive vice-president of global products, Jim Farley, gave a small sneak-peek this week as to the company’s plans for a self-driving car. In a blog post posted on Medium, Farley said the company has been hard at work behind the scenes designing an entirely new hybrid-electric model to serve as the company’s flagship driverless car. Farley says it will be suited for commercial deployment in both ride-hailing and delivery fleets. Ford representatives plan to start testing these vehicles in 2018, and said they are currently on track for commercial deployment in 2021. The cars will reportedly be manufactured at the company’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in southeastern Michigan. Read more from Car and Driver.

 

Ouster: Our self-driving Lidar sensor is better, cheaper, and you can buy it now

It’s no secret that there is intense competition in the driverless transportation industry for the software, hardware and sensors that allow vehicles to navigate without needing human drivers. One startup, Ouster, is making waves this week by announcing to the world that their Lidar sensor is better than anything else currently on the market, is less expensive, and, most notably, it’s available for purchase now. The San Francisco-based firm has put its spinning, 64-laser OS1 Lidar sensor up for sale on its website at a price of $12,000. What’s more, the startup said it has raised $27 million from investors like Ford Motors’s Bill Ford and Cox Enterprises to boost production in anticipation of orders. In comparison, one of the most popular sensors on the market today, Velodyne’s HDL-64 sells for $75,000, and Ouster says its sensor is lighter, smaller and more efficient. Some compare the size of Velodyne’s sensor to a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, whereas Ouster’s sensor is half the size of a standard coffee mug. Read more about Ouster and its sensor from Forbes.

 

Apple exec shows off self-driving technology to large group of researchers

The usually secretive Apple gave a rare glimpse into its work on machine learning last week when the company’s director of artificial intelligence, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, entertained a large group of AI researchers during a conference. Salakhutdinov demonstrated how Apple uses machine learning as a technique for analyzing large stockpiles of data, and how it can be beneficial to self-driving vehicles. VoxelNet, Apple’s machine learning project that pertains to self-driving cars, can reportedly detect obstacles such as pedestrians and cyclists efficiently using 3D scans taken by lidar sensors, as well as cameras that can effectively track a car’s location in real-time. Salakhutdinov demonstrated how the VoxelNet software can detect pedestrians even when they are partially hidden behind parked cars, and during inclement weather when raindrops fell on the sensors. Read more from WIRED.

Image: Ouster sensor on a self-driving car navigating in the rain. / Credit: Ouster

Aptiv Finalizes Spin-Off From Delphi, Joins D20 Stock Index

Delphi Automotive (old DLPH) finalized its spin out of Delphi Technologies PLC, the powertrain portion of its business this week, becoming the newest constituent of the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20).  It then renamed the balance of its business as Aptiv, which will focus on three segments: Electrical / Electronic Architecture, Electronics, and Safety.

For every three shares of Delphi Automotive PLC that were held on Nov. 22, shareholders received one share of the new Delphi Technologies PLC. The new company will trade on the NYSE under the old symbol of DLPH. The balance of the company, under the new name Aptiv, will trade on the NYSE under the symbol APTV.

The D20 will add APTV and drop DLPH, because Aptiv focuses on connected driving and driverless technology components. Aptiv will retain the recent acquisitions nuTonomy and Movimento, which bolster its push into driverless technology.

All this spinout activity didn’t help the D20, though. The index had 14 price losers, and lost 1.8 percent of its value, closing at 252.14.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers: 

Lyft’s driverless pilot in Boston has begun its rollout with nuTonomy’s technology powering it.  After a June announcement, Uber’s primary competition in the U.S. has recently begun providing driverless ride service to some Lyft patrons in Boston’s Seaport area. New D20 constituent, Aptiv, purchased nuTonomy for $400 million in October while it was still part of Delphi Automotive.

Image: Aptiv car / Credit: Aptiv

News Roundup: Driverless Trucks by Embark Will Create Jobs for Truckers Rather Than Eliminate Them, GM Plans to Launch Self-Driving Cars in Major Cities in 2019, and More

Embark plans to create jobs with its driverless truck program, not eliminate them

The unique driverless truck company Embark, which is headed by 22-year-old Alex Rodrigues, says if everything goes to plan, their company will create jobs for truckers, rather than eliminate them. Embark’s driverless trucks can currently operate autonomously on highways, but things get trickier when they exit the highway and have to drive the last few miles of a delivery trip on city streets. Rodrigues says the company’s plan is to operate “hand-off depots” where autonomous trucks can exit the highway and a human driver will take over from there, driving the truck the last few miles to its destination. In early days, the company also plans to have two human drivers in their trucks even on highway miles to take turns overseeing operations, to ensure they are rested and focused, plus an additional engineer. Eventually though, those three humans will not be needed for highway miles. Read more about Embark on FastCompany.

 

GM announces planned release of self-driving cars in major U.S. cities in 2019

On an investor call earlier this week, execs from General Motors announced their plan to release self-driving cars on public roads in major U.S. cities by 2019. The proposed timeline indicated they will start with “dense, urban environments” within two years. GM and its newly acquired company Cruise Automation currently test self-driving cars in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix, and have already announced plans to start in Manhattan thanks to legislation recently signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. GM’s plan is to reportedly launch a self-driving taxi service similar to Lyft and Uber. Read more from Geek.

 

California vetoes law that would protect autonomous vehicle makers if equipment is not maintained properly

Consumer advocates are praising the most recent action regarding autonomous vehicles taken by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Earlier this week, the CA DMV vetoed a prop0sed law that would have protected autonomous vehicle manufacturers from being held liable if a vehicle malfunctions because its equipment was not maintained up to proper standards. The rule was originally suggested to the state by General Motors, and if adopted, would have held the vehicle owner responsible if they did not clean the car’s sensors according to instructions. Statewide regulations regarding self-driving vehicles are expected to be enacted in 2018, and the public comment period ends soon on Dec. 15. Read more from StateScoop.

Image: Embark driverless truck / Credit: Embark

 

Growth by NVIDIA Helps the D20 Stock Index Bounce Back

Thanks to its phenomenal growth over that last two-plus years, the initial 5-percent stake in the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) by NVIDIA (NVDA) has grown to more than 25 percent!

The D20 was reset as a $1,000 investment in 20 stocks in August of 2015. So when NVIDIA drops a D20-leading 8.9 percent in price, like it did last week, the D20 takes a pounding.

The D20 lost 3.5 percent of its value, dropping below 260 to 256.64.  NVIDA wasn’t the only big loser, though — BYD (BYDDY) dropped 7.5 percent to close at $17.64, and Renesas Electronics (TYO:6723) shed 6.7 percent to end the week at ¥1339 per share.

Eleven price losers contributed to the D20 loss. The D20 was outperformed by the Dow, which gained 2.9 percent, and the S&P 500, which added 1.5 percent to its value.

There was some bright news for driverless technology in general this past week. Waymo (GOOG) announced that its driverless vehicles have driven over 4 million miles autonomously on public roads.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Russian software giant Yandex, which has a driverless technology project, announced that it recently test drove its driverless taxi for 300km in the snow. Weather in general, but snow in particular, presents real problems for driverless vehicles. Obscured road markings and slippery conditions can play havoc with driverless algorithms.

BYD’s Rollercoaster Ride Leads a D20 Rebound

Seventeen price gainers, led by Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD (BYDDY), which gained 8.9 percent, led the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) to a rebound this week.

As the leading Chinese maker of commercial electric vehicles including trucks and buses, BYD seemed to benefit from Tesla’s new Semi reveal.

BYD has been on a rollercoaster ride the last few weeks.  It has been the D20’s leading price percentage gainer four times in the last 11 weeks, but has also been the leading price percentage loser three times in the those same 11 weeks.

The D20 added 2.6 percent this week, closing above the 260 mark at 265.92.  It easily topped the Dow and S&P 500, which both gained 0.9 percent.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Uber, trying to put its boardroom troubles behind them and focus on moving away from human drivers, plans to buy 24,000 self driving SUVs from Volvo Cars. Volvo Cars, not to be confused with the D20’s truck and heavy equipment maker Volvo AB (STO: VOLV-B), is owned by the Chinese Vehicle manufacturer Geely. Volvo Cars announced the non-binding, non-exclusive agreement with Uber to provide up to 24,000 driverless XC90s between 2019 and 2021.

News Roundup: Apple Publishes Self-Driving Car Research, Uber Makes Big Purchase For Self-Driving Fleet, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

Apple publishes snippets of its self-driving car research online

In spite of its highly secretive past when it comes to whether or not the company is investing in the development of self-driving technology, Apple scientists this week published some of their research findings online. The paper, written by Yin Zhou and Oncel Tuzel, was submitted to the Japanese news outlet arXiv. It mostly discusses the two scientists’ ideas as to how self-driving cars could better spot human obstacles such as pedestrians and cyclists while at the same time using fewer sensors using only LiDAR. Zhou and Tuzel call their newly-dreamt-up software approach “VoxelNet.” In April, Apple filed an application for the testing of self-driving vehicles in California. Read more from Reuters.

 

Uber inks deal to purchase 24,000 Volvos for self-driving fleet

As the company deals with major blowback over its alleged cover-up of the theft of 57 million users and drivers by hackers, Uber is still moving ahead with big plans. Namely, one of its big plans that made headlines this week was a billion-dollar-deal with Sweden’s Volvo Cars to purchase 24,000 of the automaker’s XC90s for the forming of its own self-driving fleet. Uber representatives will reportedly add their own sensors and software to the cars to give them the ability to operate “pilot-less.” Uber previously agreed to use 100 XC90s for self-driving tests in Pittsburgh. Read more from SFGate.

 

UK’s new budget includes big investment to get driverless cars on public roads within the next few years

The UK’s Treasury announced this week that the government is including millions of pounds in its next budget for technology, with a significant portion earmarked for the advancement of driverless vehicle technology. The package will reportedly include 75 million for “artificial intelligence,” 160 million for the development of 5G mobile technology, and 100 million for the training of more computer science teachers throughout the nation. Interestingly, a press release by the Treasury also promised “bold reforms” and a huge investment of 28 billion for the advancement of driverless technology that means “nobody behind the wheel.” In particular, the British company FiveAI, which develops self-driving software, is already hard at work aiming to have driverless cars on public roads by 2019, though still with humans behind the wheel for emergencies. However, within just two years after that, FiveAI representatives say they expect to have fully-autonomous cars ready for the public that would include “remote supervision.” Read more from BBC News.

Image by Uber