Connected, Autonomous Vehicles On Display in Northern Virginia

Jennifer van der Kleut

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Staff and elected officials from Fairfax County in northern Virginia were treated to an up-close look at connected and driverless car technology at a special event last week on May 3. and our sister company, eTrans Systems, which manufactures connected-vehicle software, took part in the event, which examined the logistics and benefits of advancing the technology and also offered test rides in prototype vehicles.

Representatives from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), Tesla Motors, eTrans Systems and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) brought vehicles with connected and semi-autonomous technology to demonstrate how they work and to show off some of the benefits.

eTrans Systems showed off some of its V2I technology (vehicle-to-infrastructure) on test rides in a large, closed-off parking lot at the Fairfax County Government Center. Through a tablet mounted on the dashboard, riders could see when the system warned the driver if he was going over the speed limit or when the road was about to curve, and informed him of how soon an approaching traffic signal was going to change or when a collision with another vehicle was possible.

Following the demonstration rides, Fairfax County elected officials convened a discussion panel, moderated by David Zipper from the D.C.-based startup incubator 1776, and featuring representatives from eTrans, VTTI, VDOT and the consulting firm RK&K.

John Estrada, founder of and CEO of eTrans, began remarks by reminding everyone that some autonomous vehicles are already present in Fairfax County and many other spots around the globe.

“Elevators are autonomous vehicles,” he pointed out. “And anyone who has ever traveled in or out of Dulles Airport has ridden in an autonomous tram.”

Estrada said he thinks the key to slowly introducing the technology to the masses is by starting it much that way–by limiting it to smaller, controlled areas in which they can be the only mode of transportation. He offered the nearby shopping and business districts of Tysons Corner as an example, as well as a few busier spots in Reston such as Reston Town Center and up and down the Sunrise Valley corridor.

In addition to providing a valuable opportunity to perfect the technology in a smaller, controlled environment, autonomous vehicles could also help solve the widespread “last mile” problem of public transit in such areas. This refers to how some people shy away from mass transit like Metro, buses or the subway because it only gets them so far, and then they have no way to get the “last mile” to their needed destination.

Dwight Farmer of RK&K, who previously worked for decades as a planning commissioner in Hampton Roads, Virginia, continued the conversation by pointing out many benefits that municipalities like Fairfax County could enjoy with the advent of autonomous vehicles and V2I and V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communications.

For example, if safe spacing between vehicles could be reduced, the capacity on our highways could double, Farmer said. This refers to the idea that the distance between cars could be automated through technology so that cars could safely travel very close together without the danger of collision, and the constant start-and-stop that often accompanies gridlock traffic.

Farmer added, with automated safe spacing, cars could also safely increase their speeds by 20 percent, getting people to their destinations even faster and more smoothly.

And, with fewer crashes, those municipalities could save a great deal of money that is normally spent on crash response, which could then be rerouted for much-needed infrastructure improvements.

“I think we’re about to witness extraordinary times,” Farmer concluded.

Moderator Dave Zipper agreed.

“I think [connected and driverless vehicles] are going to bring about the most exciting change in mobility since the Model Ts were first rolled out in 1910,” he said.

Images by Jennifer van der Kleut for

D20 Stock Index week ending November 27 2015

VW’s Dead Cat Bounce Lifts D20 Index

Driverless Transportation

With 13 gainers, six losers, and NVIDIA (NVDA) unchanged, the Driverless Transportation Stock Index (D20) gained 0.6 percent last week to close at 162.24. In a relatively quiet week for the indexes, the D20 edged out the Dow Jones Industrials decline of 0.1 percent and the virtually unchanged S&P 500.

Leading the D20 Index this week, Volkswagen (VLKPY), in a typical ‘dead cat bounce’, gained a whopping 17.2 percent to end at $26.36. There was little news other than Volkswagen’s refusal to compensate European vehicle owners for the rigged emissions tests, so the only explanation for the price jump is that short investors bought stock to cover their bets. Volkswagen has lost 31 percent of its value since early September.

The biggest loser for the D20 this week was the Chinese electric car and battery maker BYD (BYDDY), shedding 13 percent of its value and closing at $10.56. BYD’s share price continues its rollercoaster ride, plummeting to a low of $7.70 and rising to a high of $12.53 in the last 12 weeks, a range of almost 63 percent.

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

Record High for D20 Index

Driverless Transportation

With 19 gainers and only one loser, the Driverless Transportation Index (D20) displayed impressive strength last week by jumping 4.4 percent to an all time high of 161.34. The D20 outperformed the Dow which gained 3.4 percent to close the week at 17823.81 and the S&P 500 which, in its best week of 2015, added 3.3 percent to finish at 2089.17.

The lone smudge on an almost perfect week was Volvo AB (VOLVY), the Swedish truck manufacturer, as it announced it was idling its US plant for two-and-a-half weeks in December due to excessive inventory and softening demand. Volvo’s ADR stock price lost 1.1 percent of its market capitalization and ended the week at $10.18

The D20 has breached the 160 mark three separate times in the last five weeks and has added 14 percent to its value in the last eight weeks. Since its inception at 139.7 on August 1, 2014, the D20 has ranged from 130.01 (down 6.9 percent) on October 17, 2014 to last Friday’s close of 161.34 (up 15.5 percent).  Linear regression (displayed as the dotted black line in the graphic here) places the D20’s growth at 13.4 points per year, or 9.6 percent.

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

TomTom is D20’s Lone Star

Driverless Transportation

Last week, the Driverless Transportation Index (D20) followed the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials down dramatically as all three indexes lost more than 3 percent of their value. The D20 Index lost 3.9 percent, finishing the week at 154.59 while the Dow dropped 3.7 percent and the S&P 500 discarded 3.6 percent of its value.

Trading in the D20 last week was almost unanimous with 19 losers and a sole gainer, TomTom (TOM2), the high-tech mapmaker. TomTom jumped €0.82, or 8 percent, to finish at €11.03.  TomTom’s stock price hit a six-year high as Uber agreed to use its digital maps and traffic data for more than 300 cities around the world. As the last independent supplier of detailed mapping information, rumors continue to swirl around TomTom as an acquisition target. Since its inclusion in the D20 on August 28, TomTom’s stock price is up 23 percent.

The rest of the D20 was not as promising as a trio of D20 stocks lost more than 10 percent of their value. Blackberry (BBRY) gave up gains recorded the previous week, losing 10.1 percent to finish the week at $7.21. Tesla (TSLA), a top gainer the previous week, gave up that success and finished at $207.19, down 10.8 percent. Magna International (MGA) fell 10.1 percent to $43.40 for its third consecutive weekly loss.

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

Driverless Index Crawls Over 160

Driverless Transportation

The Driverless Transportation (D20) Stock Index crawled above 160 for the second time in its history, ending the week up 1.1 percent at 160.83. Gainers outpaced losers 13 to seven as the D20 couldn’t keep up with the 1.4 percent rise in the Dow Jones Industrials which ended the week at 17910.33. The D20 slightly outperformed the S&P 500 and its rise of nearly 1 percent to finish at 2099.2.

Tesla (TSLA) was the D20 leader, increasing its stock price 12.3 percent to close the week at $232.36. Tesla has been having trouble meeting the demand for its Model S but its stock soared after its third quarter report revealed that it broke quarterly production records. NVIDIA (NVDA) was a D20 bright spot as well. It finished up 11.2 percent at $31.55 as it announced surprisingly good third quarter results.

Volkswagen’s (VLKPY) steep descent continued, dropping 12.6 percent to finish the week at $21.09 as its emissions scandal continues to deepen. Models from Audi and Porsche, both subsidiaries of Volkswagen, have now been implicated as well. It has lost 45 percent of its market cap since mid September.

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

D20 Stock Index week ending October 23, 2015

GM Takes D20 Over 160

Driverless Transportation

The Driverless Transportation (D20) Stock Index broke the 160 barrier for the first time ever, finishing at 160.77 last week. For the fourth consecutive week, the D20’s 2.9 percent gain outpaced the 2.5 percent gain in the Dow Jones Industrials and the 2.1 percent rise in the S&P 500 Index. The D20 saw 17 stocks finishing higher while three declined.

This week’s largest loser was Tesla (TSLA) down 7.9 percent on news that Consumer Reports held back its rating on the Model S owing to reliability concerns. Tesla finished the week at $209.09, its lowest point since mid-April 2015. On the driverless front, Tesla announced the release of its Autopilot update for the Model S. The reviews of the software update for existing cars are mostly positive, but some users have complained that the Model S takes turns too fast in Autopilot mode.

D20 Stock Index versus Dow Jones Index versus S&P weekly change ending week of October 23, 2015On the bright side, General Motors (GM) posted its fourth consecutive weekly gain by adding 8.5 percent and ending the week at $35.95 a share. Most of the jump was due to GM’s surprisingly positive third-quarter earnings announcement. GM has adopted a quiet but aggressive plan to develop “self-driving” cars.

Other D20 stocks that put in strong showings last week were Alphabet (GOOG) up 6.0 percent, Continental (CTTAY) up 6.9 percent, Magna (MGA) up 6.0 percent, and Valeo (VLEEY) up 6.2 percent.

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

D20 Stock Index

Driverless Stocks Rise for Three Straight Weeks

Driverless Transportation

For the third straight week, the Driverless Transportation (D20) Stock Index outpaced both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index by gaining 1.3 percent and finishing at 156.19. The Dow added 0.8 percent to end the week at 12215.97 while the S&P 500 finished at 2033.11 up 0.9 percent. For the D20 this week gainers outnumbered losers 13 to seven.

D20 Stock Index, Dow Jones, and S&P weekly change ending October 16, 2015

After a one week reprieve, Volkswagen (VLKPY) returned to the losing side, dropping 4.6 percent and ending the week at $23.07. Volkswagen’s credit rating dropped and management shake-ups surfaced as the emissions scandal continues to plague the company.

The price of crude oil has been rising in the last month and a half and that has been a boon to BYD Co. (BYDDY), the Chinese electric vehicle and battery manufacturer. BYD had its sixth consecutive weekly advance and closed Friday up 10.7 percent. Between September 4 and October 16 BYD rose from $7.70 to $12.45 a share, a 62 percent increase. NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) also rose consistently during that time, ending last week up 6.9 percent to finish at $27.86.

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

D20 Stock Index week ending September 25, 2015

Volkswagen Drives D20 Down

Driverless Transportation

Driven by Volkswagen’s huge loss the Driverless Transportation (D20) Stock Index tumbled 5.8 percent and ended last week at 142.05.  The loss was broad based as D20 losers outnumbered gainers 18 to two. On news that the global economy is slowing, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 lost value last week although less than the D20 Index. The Dow ended the week at 1631.67, down 0.4 percent while the S&P 500 finished at 1931.34, down 1.4 percent.

A 34.3 percent drop in Volkswagen’s stock price was responsible for over a quarter of the D20 loss for the week. Volkswagen’s ADR (VLKPY) price hit a 52-week low of $21.87 on Monday, less than half its D20 Index high of $54.02 it hit just over six months last March. The automaker’s woes continue to be driven by the diesel pollution testing scandal.  Its CEO has resigned and shareholder lawsuits have arisen.  Volkswagen’s current financial crisis will curtail its ability to invest in driverless technologies as it tries to weather the government fines, shareholder lawsuits, and negative market impact of this scandal.

The lone Chinese company in the D20 Index, BYD Company (BYDDY), shone brightly this week rising almost 6 percent and finishing at $9.91. At 6.16 percent, it is now is the largest component of the D20 Index. BYD has added 17.4 percent to its ADR price since August 28 when the basis for the D20 Index was changed.

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

D20 Stock Index week ending September 18, 2015

D20 Gainers Outnumber Losers for the Week with TomTom in the Lead

Driverless Transportation

Two consecutive weekly gains have pushed the Driverless Transportation (D20) Stock Index just over the 150 mark.  The D20 Index outpaced both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 by gaining 2.42 points or 1.63 percent to close the week at 150.83.  The Dow lost 0.3 percent of its value while the S&P gave back 0.15 percent.  In the D20, gainers outnumbered losers sixteen to four.

One of the D20’s newest members, TomTom (TOM2), led the advance this week with a 7.69 percent gain in value.  TomTom’s rise was due to a combination of factors.  First, since Nokia’s sale of its Here! mapping business, rumors continue to swirl around the prospect that TomTom will do the same.  Second, TomTom announced strong year to date sales results.  Right behind TomTom was BYD Company (BYDDY) who gained 6.98 percent.

The D20 loss leaders for the week were Volvo (VOLVY) who lost 4.30 percent of its value and Volkswagen (VLKPY) who lost 4.62 percent amid allegations that they cheated on their periodic state emissions testing for some of their diesel powered cars.

Since the D20 changed its measurement method on August 28th, 2015, the top three gainers have been:

The three biggest losers have been:

  • Mobileye (MBLY) – down 14.02%
  • Renesas (TYO:6732) – down 7.49%
  • Volkswagen (VLKPY) – down 4.83%

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

Growing Driverless Stock Index (D20) Reflects Dynamic Industry

Driverless Transportation

We have some exciting changes in the Driverless Transportation D20 Index to announce. First off, we are replacing three companies in the index and making the D20 more international in scope. We also changed the basis for our calculation of the D20 Index, moving to a dollar averaged approach.

The three new stocks in the D20 are:

  1.  Amsterdam-based TomTom (TOM2) is traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. It replaces Nokia (NOK) which is selling its Here mapping division, its only business involved in driverless or connected vehicles. TomTom, known for its popular aftermarket GPS turn-by-turn directional devices for cars, has three units that are involved with driverless technology – the auto unit provides components such as maps, traffic and software to auto OEMs; the licensing group leverages maps, traffic and navigation content and services; and the telematics unit is dedicated to fleet management and vehicle telematics.
  2. Ontario, Canada-based Magna International (MGA) is traded on the NYSE. It replaces the lightly-traded KVH Inc. (KVHI), a business that primarily delivers ISP services for hotels, resorts and ships. Magna has a large and growing electronics division which focuses on driver assistance systems, as well as systems to support power-train electrification. It manufactures electronic, electromechanical and mechatronic products, and provides software and hardware development.
  3. Tokyo-based Renesas Electronics (TYO: 6723) trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It replaces Iteris (ITI), a lightly-traded firm that provides intelligent transportation systems for municipalities. Renesas was formed through a merger of NEC Electronics Corp., and Renesas Technology Corp., (a joint venture of Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric). Renesas Electronics is a semiconductor manufacturer that designs, develops, manufactures, sells and services microcontrollers for the automotive industry.

The D20 Index now has companies — TomTom in Amsterdam and Renesas in Tokyo — with stocks that are primarily listed on non-US exchanges and use foreign currencies for prices. To calculate the D20 and include these stocks we convert the non-US stock prices (Euros and Japanese Yen) to US dollars using a current conversion ratio. The values were: Euro – currently 1.136 dollars per Euro; and Japanese Yen – currently .00829 dollars per Yen.


We have changed the basis for calculating the D20 Index. Previously, the value of the D20 was calculated by using one share of stock from each of the 20 stocks in the index. With the new dollar-averaged approach we track the value of $1,000 invested in each of the 20 stocks. And on August 28, 2015 we started with roughly a total of $20,000 invested equally in the 20 stocks ($1,000 per company) in the D20 Index.





(As of 8/28/2015)
Share Price Shares Currency Conversion Value
BlackBerry Ltd BBRY $             7.37 135.690 1.000 $           1,000
BYD COMPANY LTD ADR BYDDY $             8.44 118.480 1.000 $           1,000
Continental AG (ADR) CTTAY $           42.86 23.330 1.000 $           1,000
Daimler AG (USA) DDAIF $           80.70 12.390 1.000 $           1,000
Delphi Automotive PLC DLPH $           75.35 13.270 1.000 $           1,000
Denso Corp (ADR) DNZOY $           22.69 44.070 1.000 $           1,000
Ford Motor Company F $           13.73 72.830 1.000 $           1,000
General Motors Company GM $           29.01 34.470 1.000 $           1,000
Google Inc GOOG $       630.38 1.586 1.000 $           1,000
Magna MGA $           49.23 20.313 1.000 $           1,000
Mobileye NV Amsterdam MBLY $           56.42 17.724 1.000 $           1,000
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) NSANY $           18.31 54.620 1.000 $           1,000
NVIDIA Corporation NVDA $           22.73 43.990 1.000 $           1,000
Tesla Motors Inc TSLA $       248.48 4.025 1.000 $           1,000
TomTom TOM2 €             8.97 100.010 1.115 $           1,000
Visteon Corp VC $       100.49 9.950 1.000 $           1,000
VALEO SA (ADR) VLEEF $           63.66 15.710 1.000 $           1,000
Volkswagen AG (ADR) VLKPY $           38.32 26.100 1.000 $           1,000
Volvo AB (ADR) VOLVY $           10.94 91.410 1.000 $           1,000
Renesas TYO:6732 ¥       708.00 168.008 0.00841 $           1,000

Why the change? We found that with the one-share approach the stocks with the highest prices, i.e., Google, trading over $600, and Tesla, over $250, could swing the D20 wildly with just a small change in their pricing. The dollar-average approach means each company in the D20 now makes up about five percent of the index’s underlying value.

Why didn’t the D20 Index change radically when we switched the basis? We have always used a divisor with the D20 Index, and it started as 10.0. That meant we added up all the stock prices at the close of the trading day and divided by 10. To switch to the new dollar-average approach we changed the divisor so the new D2’s underlying value would be the same as the old D2. So on August 28, 2015 we used the closing stock prices to find the value of each of the two D20s, then adjusted the divisor for the dollar-averaged D20 so it had the same value as the old D20. The new divisor is 134.27296.

On September 4 we switched over to the revised D20 Index with the three new stocks and the new divisor.

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


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