As it’s apt to do, TikTok started a major conversation this week. A viral TikTok video featured a man ordering, hopping in and taking a ride in a driverless taxi. That begged the question, is self-driving car tech ready?
Only a few cities that have this technology right now. But we’re nearing the time when AVs are used in widescale application.
Self-driving car testing is taking place all over the commercial space right now – from autonomous Domino’s (NYSE:DPZ) pizza delivery to self-driving freight trucking.
Now, we are in the early stages. AVs’ first wave is commercial, since an error in tech could result in the loss of the vehicle’s cargo. Pizza and merchandise are not a massive downside risk. The stakes are much higher with human passengers.
Once we can safely transport goods, ridesharing services are next to take off, as we saw in the viral TikTok. It’s niche right now, but it is growing. Eventually, all ridesharing will be autonomous. And ultimately, self-driving will reach the general public. While application is moving faster than expected, we still have 10 to 15 years before its final stages.
Indeed, to reach ubiquity, self-driving car tech must have an uncanny human-like ability to see and sense surroundings.
This will be achieved with a range of sensors. It includes RADAR for long-range mapping, LiDAR for short range and cameras for colors. This is what’s known as “full-stack autonomy,” and it’s the best method for AVs.
The sensors take in all environmental information and turn it into data. This data is analyzed in a fraction of a second and powers the car’s decision-making.
So, where are the best places to invest here? I think LiDAR is the most important sensor in the stack. And it’ll have some great opportunities to invest. Not to mention, AV software is also vital, and full-stack software companies hold great promise in the self-driving industry.
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