Tesla Semi, Roadster Reveals Not Enough to Push D20 Stock Index to Gain

A four-percent stock price jump by Tesla Motors led the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index’s (D20) this week.

Tesla’s (TLSA) reveal of the new Tesla Semi electric big-rig dominated industry headlines this week, helping the company’s stock jump from $302.99 to $315.05 per share. In a big surprise, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also revealed a new Roadster during the same event, which no one was expecting.

Tesla’s real financial fate still hangs on whether or not they can untangle the production problems they have on the Model 3, their reasonably-priced, mass-market electric vehicle.  Their target production rate for the Model 3 is 20,000 cars a month by the end of December. Tesla only produced 260 Model 3s in the last quarter.

Unfortunately, the rest of the D20 didn’t fare so well this week. Eleven price losers dominated the Index and caused it to lose 0.7 percent, closing the week at 259.27.

The Dow and S&P 500 both outperformed the D20 this week. The Dow only dropped 0.3 percent, while the S&P 500 dipped just 0.1 percent to close at 2578.85.

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


Optimus Ride, a Boston-based startup, announced that it raised $18 million in series A funding. Reps from the MIT spin-off company said they will utilize the additional capital to increase their vehicle fleet and make strategic hires. Optimus Ride has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to test highly automated vehicles in the commonwealth.

Tesla’s Tumultuous 2nd Quarter Tops D20, and Finally Some Positive News for Uber

An announcement from Tesla (TLSA) that it exceeded analysts’ estimates for second quarter revenue and earnings drove its stock price up 6 percent this week. That increase helped the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) eke out a 0.4-percent gain, even though price losers outnumbered gainers 12 to eight.

The D20 was outpaced by the Dow, which jumped 1.2 percent, but doubled up the S&P 500, which only gained 0.2 percent.

Tesla’s second quarter revenue was $2.79 billion with a non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) loss of $1.73, which beat the consensus estimates of $2.52 billion in revenue and an EPS loss of $1.88. The Tesla stock price rose from $335.07 to close the week at $356.91 per share.

Tesla’s futures are heavily hedged on the success of its Model 3 launch and early production figures. Tesla is betting that a reasonably priced but stylish, fully electric vehicle will get its sales volumes high enough so that it can start covering its administrative overhead and turn those EPS losses into gains.

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



There is finally some good news for the beleaguered Uber, from its freight division. Uber Freight announced that it is adding new markets in California, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and the Chicago-Midwest Region. It also announced that it has added personalized load-matching, which takes into account what types of loads a driver prefers and whether the route is local, short haul or long haul.

Tesla and Mobileye Head In Opposite Directions

With eight gainers and 12 losers, the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) fell 1.34 points to close this week at 156.72.

The D20’s 0.9-percent drop compared unfavorably to the Dow’s 0.2-percent gain and S&P 500’s 0.5-percent rise.

Mobileye (MBLY) and Telsa (TSLA) have gotten into a relatively public feud as Mobileye accuses Tesla of “pushing the envelope in terms of safety.” This just after Tesla dumped Mobileye’s camera-based system in favor of a radar-based Autopilot after the now famous fatal crash in May of a Tesla Model S, whose Autopilot was engaged but didn’t recognized a tractor-trailer truck.

The once partners headed in opposite directions in share price as well this week. Mobileye was the D20’s largest price percentage loser, dropping 9.5 percent, or $4.53, to close at 42.94.  Tesla was the leading price percentage gainer for the D20, adding 5.6 percent, or $10.93 to its value, and ending the week back over $200 a share at $205.40.

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


 Not to be outdone by Uber’s launch of driverless cars in Pittsburgh, Lyft co-founder and president, John Zimmer, published a manifesto detailing his transportation vision for the next 10 years. It includes the rapid growth of autonomous vehicle fleets and the disappearance of private car ownership.  It also predicts the transformation of cities from being car-centric to people-centric.

Privately-held Velodyne announced its latest LiDAR sensor model, called Puck HiRes. It was partially funded by $150 million in investments from Baidu and Ford.  The announcement continues to add fuel to the radar-versus-LiDAR-versus-camera sensor debate that is currently raging in the autonomous driving development community.

News Roundup: Mobileye and Delphi Promise Level 4 or 5 Automation By 2019, Uber Makes 3 Calculated Autonomous-Car Moves in One Short Week, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

A roundup of some of the most interesting headlines from the driverless and connected-car industries over the past few days.

Mobileye and Delphi Automotive announce plans to leap-frog competitors and achieve Level 4-5 automation by 2019

Auto technology supplier Delphi Automotive and sensor manufacturer Mobileye made a big announcement Tuesday. The two are partnering up for autonomous cars, and made the bold pledge to offer a car capable of at least Level 4 automation–and possibly even Level 5–by 2019, which would likely put them at least a year or more ahead of major competitors such as Google, Tesla and Ford. Level 4 automation, on a scale that goes up to 5, would mean the car could completely drive itself in almost every situation, with little to no assistance. The two companies said they plan to have their product ready to show off at the next Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in 2017, and be completely production-ready by 2019. Read more about the Mobileye-Delphi announcement on USA Today.


Uber makes three bold moves in one week in an effort to push past Google on driverless cars

Ride-hailing supergiant Uber had a busy week last week, moving several puzzle pieces into place to secure itself a slot ahead of Google in the driverless car race. In one short week, the company purchased Otto, the self-driving truck company started by former Google execs; launched a pilot program to try out driverless taxis able to be hailed via an app in Pittsburgh; and ponied up $300 million to secure a partnership with Volvo to design and manufacture autonomous cars by 2021. Read more about Uber’s busy week on Forbes.


Intel shows off its intent to get in on the autonomous car industry during San Francisco developer forum

Intel is best known for its computer chips, but the tech giant made it clear during its developer forum in San Francisco last week that it has eggs in several technology baskets at once–including that of autonomous cars. Intel showed off its research and development work in several areas such as Internet of Things and many facets of the autonomous car world such as in-vehicle technology, communications and analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and human-machine interfacing during the forum. Read more about the roughly one dozen demos Intel hosted on Post and Parcel.

TomTom Helps D20 Beat Dow and S&P 500

With 16 gainers, three losers and one unchanged, the Driverless Transportation Stock Index (D20) last week easily out ran the Dow and the S&P 500 and finished over 150 for the first time since January 1. While the Dow gained 0.3 percent to finish the week at 18,570.85 and the S&P 500 moved up 0.6 percent to close at 2175.03, neither could match the D20’s 1.8 percent gain.

Prompted by a fivefold increase in quarterly profits, TomTom (TOM2) led the price gainers with a jump of nearly 6 percent and finished last week at €7.10 a share. TomTom continues to try to reduce its dependency on hardware products while growing its recurring revenue line of content and services. Blackberry (BBRY) and TomTom should share notes as this sounds like a page out of Blackberry’s turnaround strategy.

Elon Musk’s much publicized release of the Tesla Master Plan (Part II) had little positive effect on Tesla (TSLA) stock as it gained a meager $1.87 last week. Musk lays out an integrated strategy of solar energy collection, battery storage, and the design and production of a wide range of autonomous electric vehicles, all under the Tesla brand.

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

Up and Comers:

Autonomous-fleet management start-up BestMile raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The firm is a spin off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. The funders were “led by a super-angel from the Zurich region and completed by the US venture capital firm Perot Jain, L.P., Forticap SA based in Geneva, and private investors from Switzerland, Germany and Silicon Valley,” according to a press release from Lausanne-based BestMile.  

BestMile is a collaborator on the SmartShuttle project in Sion, Switzerland that began in June (See “Driverless SmartShuttle is No Cuckoo Clock”). The Navya vehicle uses Velodyne’s LiDAR Pucks, GPS RTK navigation devices, stereovision cameras, inertial navigation systems and odometry.

Zoox Slinks into VC Jungle with $200 Million

Burney Simpson

Autonomous car upstart Zoox has raised $200 million from three investors in a venture round. The three are Shahin Farshchi, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), and Lux Capital, according to CrunchBase.

Zoox is “a robotics company pioneering autonomous mobility. We are developing our own fully autonomous electric vehicle and the supporting ecosystem required to bring the technology to market at scale,” according to a LinkedIn write up by board member Laurie Yoler.

Zoox is led by Australian designer and film-maker Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson, a Stanford University engineer who worked with Sebastian Thrun, first director of Google’s self-driving car program.

Zoox’s first public model was a futuristic roadster-style vehicle that predated the driverless car that Mercedes rolled out to massive attention at CES 2015. The Boz was bi-directional with no front or back, and had no windshield, steering wheel, or brake pedal, according to Electric Vehicle News.

Zoox appears to still be operating in a low-key manner. Its website is a single page with Zoox spelled out in gray against a black background. (Shades of ‘White Light/White Heat’). The two oo’s in Zoox are connected like an infinity symbol. Hovering over Zoox displays ‘’.

This has been an eventful year for Zoox. California in March gave it a permit to test its cars on state roads, and in the spring it was on a hiring spree, bringing in managers from Tesla (See “Zoox Recruits from Tesla, with Live Tests Coming”). Meanwhile, longtime Silicon Valley investor and Tesla founding board member Yoler joined the board.


DFJ is an influential Silicon Valley investor.

Farshchi is a Lux partner though he also makes an occasional personal investment. He is said to have a technical background with GM.

New York- and Silicon Valley-based Lux invests in “counter-conventional, seed and early stage sci-tech ventures,” says CrunchBase.

Fatality Fails to Dent Tesla Stock

The first fatality in a Tesla (TSLA) while in Autopilot mode doesn’t seem to have affected the market’s appetite for the company’s stock.

While the Dow and S&P 500 rebounded nicely with 3.2 percent gains last week, the D20 managed to only recover some of its Brexit loses by rising about 1 percent and closing Friday at 141.83. Gainers outnumbered losers 11 to nine as the index ended four consecutive weekly losses.

For the third week in a row, Mobileye (MBLY) was the D20’s leading price gainer. Positive vibes from its latest deal with Intel and BWM continue to propel the stock to levels not seen since October. Last week, Mobileye’s stock increased 13 percent to close at $47.11.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into a fatal crash in May involving a Tesla Model S that occurred while its Autopilot feature was engaged. Despite that, Tesla’s stock was up $23.35 percent last week, gaining 12 percent and closing at $216.50.

Also, last week Volvo AB (STO:VOLV-B) increased its provision against a possible EU antitrust fine. The market reacted swiftly, knocking 8.60 SEK off its stock price and reducing it 9.3 percent to 84.3 SEK.

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

Up and Comers:

Lyft looking for investors – hires Qatalyst Partners. Qatalyst recently played a part in Microsoft’s planned $26 billion purchase of LinkedIn. Lyft is a rideshare firm perhaps best known for the $1 billion stake made in January by GM, Didi Chuxing, a Saudi prince, and others. It was reported that investment series valued Lyft at $5.5 billion.

China rideshare firm Didi Chuxing made more news with a $400 million investment from Poly Group, a Chinese government real estate and trading firm. In May, Apple invested $1 billion in Didi which operates in more than 400 cities in China. It claims over 85 percent of China’s ride-hailing market and completes as many as 14 million rides per day.

Brexit Dumps Driverless Stocks

The Driverless Transportation (D20) Stock Index almost doubled the losses seen by the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 last week, dropping 3.0 percent to close at 140.70. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 lost 1.6 percent on news that Great Britain voted to leave the EU with its Brexit referendum. With 15 losers and five gainers, the D20 dropped to levels it has not seen since February.

On the bright side Mobileye (MBLY) leapt up nearly 6.5 percent, making the stock the D20’s price performance leader for the second consecutive week. Mobileye’s stock jumped $2.53 to $42.70 last week on rumors that it may extend its partnership with BMW.

Investors are concerned about Tesla’s (TSLA) plan to acquire Solar City. After the announcement last week, its stock dropped $22.32 to $193.15 to close down more than 10 percent. The market doesn’t seem to believe that solar panels and electric vehicles can be a synergistic fit. The market has occasionally doubted the vision of Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk, only to be proven wrong.

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

Up and Comers:

Santa Cruz Tech Beat reports Pearl raised $50 million in its first round of funding. Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Pearl has developed RearVision, an easily-installed backup camera that “provides obstacle alerts and updates automatically.” Pearl develops aftermarket products for the autonomous vehicle market. Pearl’s three cofounders met at Apple.

A Ford Motor Credit Co. lease-sharing pilot has been a flop after three months in Texas, according to Automotive News. Ford Credit Link has signed no customers at three participating dealers in the Austin area. Three to six customers can sign on to a lease then use the vehicle as they see fit. “Maybe there would be more interest in a metro city, but especially in Texas, getting three to six people to agree to something has been very difficult,” said one dealer.

Data-Gathering Partners GM, Mobileye Lead the D20

After a bull rush two weeks ago with all 20 stocks rising, the Driverless Transportation (D20) Stock Index settled down last week to eight gainers and 12 losers. Following four weeks of consecutive gains, the D20 caught its breath and slipped 0.40 to close at 149.18.

The D20’s leading price gainer was Mobileye (MBLY), up nearly 3 percent over last week’s close while partner GM (GM) was the biggest loser. GM’s dispute with regulators over the safety of updated Takata airbags and a disastrous May for new car sales conspired to knock 5.7 percent off its price. It closed the week at $29.59, its lowest price since early April.

But the data-gathering power of partners Mobileye  and GM is beginning to generate interest. Some realize that GM’s 3 million new cars a year equipped with OnStar coupled with Mobileye’s road-experience management (REM) localization product could overtake Google (GOOG) and Tesla (TSLA) in number of miles-per-day of detailed road data collected. This data gathering exercise is becoming increasing important to the goal of totally autonomous vehicles.

The D20 kept pace with the Dow, which lost 0.4 percent to finish the week at 17807.06, while the S&P 500 essentially remained unchanged.

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

Nvidia Does it Again, Sends D20 Higher

With 11 gainers and nine losers, the Driverless Transportation (D20) Stock Index edged up 0.9 percent last week to 145.10, beating the Dow and S&P 500 once again. The Dow dropped 34.4 points to close at 17500.94 while the S&P 500 crept up 5.7 points to finish Friday at 2052.32.

For the second consecutive week, Nvidia (NVDA), a leading maker of Graphic Processing Units or Chips, led all D20 stocks with an 8.2 percent price jump. Nvidia’s latest consumer product, the GTX 1080, sold out within minutes of its availability on Amazon.

Electric vehicle OEM Tesla (TSLA) also had a strong week, with its stock price jumping $12.67, or 6.1 percent, to close at $220.28. Tesla continues to enjoy favorable press about advanced orders on its newly announced Model 3. Valeo (VLEEY), the French auto parts maker, was the D20’s biggest loser, dropping $4.96, or 6.3 percent, to end the week at $73.76.

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