If you are as fascinated by NexGen trends as I am, this is the week for you. The absolutely huge Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is under way in Las Vegas, and as USA Today described it, it’s “50 football fields worth of shiny new tech toys.”
That’s true, but don’t let the word “toys” lead you into thinking they are trivial or unimportant. Many of these innovations are right smack in the middle of the trends we’re following and already making money on – things like artificial intelligence (AI), the always connected Internet of Things (IoT), voice assistants, the smart home and more.
Many interesting companies use CES to announce product improvements, new creations or ideas that are in the works. I always keep a close eye on what comes out of the show, and so far, NexGen transportation has emerged as one of our themes with some pretty cool developments.
Self-driving cars: Chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) has been busy in this mega-trend, and that’s part of why the stock has jumped 15% already in 2018. It has added Uber to its list of partnerships in the race toward autonomous vehicles. Uber has been working on self-driving technology for nearly three years now, and the company said it will use Nvidia’s chips in its artificial intelligence computing system for the fleet of autonomous vehicles in development.
Nvidia is also partnering with Volkswagen, which plans to incorporate the Nvidia Drive IX platform into future cars. That platform opens up all sorts of possibilities like voice control with personal assistants like Amazon’s (AMZN) Alexa, or facial recognition security similar to what’s on the iPhone X. And last but not least, Nvidia is now partnering with Baidu (BIDU), the huge Chinese internet company, also on an AI system for self-driving vehicles. NVDA and BIDU are joined by a German car parts company, ZF.
Ford (F) is also a player here, as it wants to be the platform that literally drives the vehicles. It is also working with Qualcomm (QCOM) and its chips to build what is being called the Transportation Mobility Cloud.
Here’s something else I found really cool: Nissan (NSANY) is doing research on what’s called brain-to-vehicles (B2V) technology. So the computer won’t be the brain behind the driving, a person will be. It sounds a bit like a scene from the classic movie “Back to the Future” because the driver will wear a cap with wires sticking out of it. So picture Doc Brown’s brain wave analyzer from the movie. The cap will indeed measure brain waves, and from there the vehicle’s systems will analyze them and anticipate your intended reactions.
Always-connected cars: Ford is using the big show to confirm its plans to have all of its vehicles connected by next year. For now that means things that we’re already getting used to, like location services, remote unlocking and Wi-Fi in the car.
What’s new is that Ford plans to adopt something it is calling “cellular vehicle-to-everything” technology, or C-V2X for short. Of course, everything has shorthand code now. This is interesting because it’s almost like the Internet of Things for cars. It will allow vehicles to communicate with other things, like smart traffic signals, construction zone warnings or other vehicles. It could also connect to a gas pump, for example, to make wireless payments, which puts it squarely in our NexGen finance and payment trends as well.
Electric vehicles (EVs): Chinese startup Byton is getting a lot of buzz as a new entrant into the burgeoning electric vehicle market. The company’s car looks great and goes 0-60 in just five seconds. That’s fast for any vehicle, much less one powered by batteries.
Byton also announced that it is working on a self-driving version of the vehicle that is expected to launch in 2019. This highlights the continued movement into EVs and its power as a NexGen theme. We will have a lot of chances to make money on it as it plays out over the next couple of decades.
One key element to this trend is the ability to power vehicles with batteries. In fact, battery storage will expand exponentially in the future for both personal and industrial use, and one of my favorite ways to play the theme is by owning stocks of leading companies related to lithium-ion batteries.
In fact, one company I already recommend as a play on continued demand for lithium-ion batteries (which is already up 10% in a month for my NexGen Trader subscribers) is also at CES with other technologies. The company unveiled the new version of its OLED TV that is one of the best available. It also rolled out new 4K HD Blu-ray players as well a smart speaker for Google Assistant.
It’s clear from the buzz at CES and the announcements companies are making that we are following the right NexGen trends in everything from technology to transportation. That reinforces what we already know: There will be a lot of moneymaking opportunities through the years. Some will be in big names as these innovations become bigger parts of their businesses, and some will be in companies that have yet to hit the mainstream. These overlooked names are the ones fueling this trend behind the scenes, and therefore hold immense untapped potential.
One thing is for sure: We’ll be taking full advantage of both.