The Covid-19 pandemic was the pits.
You could no longer leave your house without a mask. You couldn’t visit with friends or family. Many people worked from home, and kids “went” to school online. You couldn’t even go out for a meal anymore.
Covid-19 caused a lot of tragedy and hardships.
But now that things are getting back to a new normal, we can look back on the pandemic and see things a little differently. Maybe even spot just a couple of positive aspects… let’s call them silver linings.
Parents got to spend a lot more quality time with their kids — time that normally would have been spent rushing to and from soccer games and cello practice. Some people started hobbies that may have led to new business opportunities.
Want to know one of my favorite parts of the pandemic?
No bumper-to-bumper traffic.
To be honest, I don’t drive much anyway. I use an electric scooter to get to and from the office. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t heard the complaints and horror stories about mornings and Friday afternoons stuck in gridlock.
The pandemic gave us all a break from that…
But now the highways are filling back up, and rush hour is once again becoming a hassle.
There’s an answer coming for that.
More than ever, we as a society are ready for self-driving technology. And Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) recent software update has taken us one step closer…
Over the weekend, Tesla rolled out the latest version of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology to members of its early access program.
It improves drivers’ visualization of their environment by adding more surrounding information. And it also gives vehicles the ability to break, accelerate and steer automatically… as well as change lanes, park and recognize stop signs and traffic lights.
Now, let’s point out something very important…
The technology’s name is incredibly misleading.
Tesla may be one of the leaders in the race toward full autonomy, but it does not currently offer a fully autonomous car — one that can drive itself without any help from a human driver.
In fact, the updated FSD technology release included the following note:
Full Self-Driving is in early limited access Beta and must be used with additional caution. It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road. Do not become complacent.
And CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet to “please be paranoid.”
That’s all fine and dandy. But maybe Musk should consider changing the technology’s name…
That’s a discussion for another time.
While the technology isn’t quite there just yet, in the future autonomous vehicles (AVs) — or self-driving cars — will change the way we get around in ways we haven’t seen since Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1980.
They’re going to reshape the American landscape. How you vacation, where you live, even the way we design our cities and neighborhoods will change.
With this much at stake, many of the world’s smartest, richest, most powerful entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations are working day and night to make early and strong entrances into this market that will one day be massive.
I have no doubt the winners of this race will see their stocks advance 10-fold… 20-fold… even 100-fold over the coming decade… taking investors along for the ride of their lives.
Still, the self-driving car phenomenon remains early in its lifecycle, and as a result it is quite volatile. Investors are on board one day and the next they believe the technology is light years away from reality.
I am firmly on the side of AVs becoming a reality much sooner than most suspect. The technology is already here — Tesla’s recent FSD update is a great example of that — and every day we get closer to mass production. As the convergence of multiple technologies continues to progress, it will create an environment that enables mass-produced AVs.
I like Tesla for that future. I believe it will help gets us there sooner than later. But in the meantime, I like the company much more for another aspect of its business…
Next-generation batteries and battery-storage potential.
In fact, I have said for years that Tesla would one day be more of a battery company than a car company.
Research firm Piper Sandler believes that Tesla will control more than one-third of the stationary battery market by 2033. Stationary batteries are backup systems, so this is for houses and the like — not so much electric and autonomous vehicles. But it’s still a fantastic start.
The race is on, and Tesla will likely be among the leaders in the future of transportation — what I call Transportation 2.0. The stakes are well into the trillions of dollars.
One day, traffic will be a thing of the past. But to get there, we need better battery technology to power those vehicles of the future.
This hypergrowth trend is already underway, but it’s still in its very early stages. That makes now the time for smart investors to get in position for potentially massive profits.
On the date of publication, Matthew McCall did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
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