Steve's note: Today, we're highlighting an essay from my colleague and tech expert Dave Lashmet. He recently shared this piece, which we've adapted for DailyWealth, as a special contribution to our Stansberry Innovations Report research service, launched earlier this year. The Innovations team looks for safe, high-upside ways to invest in breakthrough technologies. I hope you enjoy this look at the future – it may be coming sooner than you think...
You'll never have to drive to work again...
You won't have to deal with a never-ending parade of brake lights. You'll be able to finish the book you've been reading for weeks... catch up on dozens of e-mails before you get to the office... or help your kids finish their homework on the way to the bus stop.
Sure, it doesn't sound like reality. But it's a lot closer to happening than you might think.
We're in the early stages of an unstoppable trend... the rise of self-driving cars.
Today, we'll walk you through some of the latest advancements in self-driving technology. We'll talk about when this trend could really take off. And we'll give you the name of a company playing a huge role in making it all come together...
You might not believe it, but self-driving cars work a lot like video games...
Self-driving cars originally needed to "memorize" both maps and how to use a car's controls – how to accelerate, steer, and brake. But it would have taken programmers a long time – some estimates say up to 100 years – to teach a car every scenario.
Nobody was going to wait a century for this technology... Thankfully, one company has developed a breakthrough way for these self-driving cars to quickly learn on their own.
This company is best known for making graphics cards – a special kind of silicon chip that works alongside a central processing unit chip with the goal of creating images.
When you're playing a video game, graphics cards take artificial objects and paint them into a visual scene in real time. This company figured out that you can probably also do this in the real world... with real cars.
This is the springboard for all the self-driving cars you'll see in the coming years.
In a self-driving car, this company's chips take real objects and paint them into a "game." That way, they can follow real streets and track real pedestrians.
But self-driving cars aren't good enough yet, largely because of weather and unexpected conditions that you really can't program for – like a truck losing its load or a tree falling across a road. In bad weather, driving conditions deteriorate and create more risk... with no one willing to take the blame.
This question of liability is important. It's a big factor in determining when self-driving cars might start to become widespread...
Industry lawyers like to call developments in the field of self-driving cars "advanced driver-assistance technologies" to avoid liability for life-or-death decisions.
For example, "driver assistance" technology that applies the brakes or pulls you back into your lane is much easier to defend than technology that leaps curbs to avoid a head-on collision – but which in turn crashes the car into a school bus stop. The second scenario leaves a lot more room to blame the carmaker for any incident.
The key will be in absolving carmakers from liability. That's when we will see truly driverless cars on the market.
Most experts think that this is still five to 10 years out. But it could be even sooner. You see, one company is taking the first steps to solving these kinds of problems...
We're talking about California-based Nvidia (NVDA), a $170 billion technology titan. (I first recommended NVDA shares to my Stansberry Venture Technology readers back in 2016, when the stock traded around $45 per share. Today, it trades around $280... a gain of more than 500%.)
The trick to Nvidia's strategy is that it's like playing a video game in reverse. Instead of creating game-world objects rendered for the player's point of view, Nvidia is tracking real-world objects to predict their future motion from the perspective of a driver's moving car.
Imagine that you're tracking a semitrailer... Odds are that it weighs between eight and 28 tons and has good tire tread. So in the next five seconds, it can go five miles per hour faster if the driver steps on the accelerator... or 30 miles per hour slower if he slams the brakes.
Nvidia has calculated an expected tracking range for cars, delivery vans, semitrailers, bulldozers, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians walking beside and across a road... even dogs and cats.
We saw this technology running in the Nvidia booth at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show ("CES") in Las Vegas. We walked in front of a car at a crosswalk, and we could see our speed and trajectory uploaded into a "game" that a smart car was playing.
Obviously, we were impressed. But Nvidia's latest technology is going a step further.
Technically, this process is called "deep learning." But it's easier to think of it as "self learning"...
Deep learning is how a car will gain the ability to drive from "scratch"... without a programmed database of every curb, stop sign, and left-turn lane stored in a memory bank. All it uses is a map...
For months, Nvidia's car "watched" data of what real-life drivers did in reaction to different scenarios. Then folks from the company took the car out to a closed course and let it start hitting cones. After a while, it started hitting fewer cones... and then no cones.
This is the same logic that will help a car navigate snow, ice, and slush as proficiently as any human driver. That's because the car can do more than just learn from its own experiences... It can also upload data from other cars.
In summary, self-thinking cars can outthink a fixed-object program that's based on measuring every curb. And this reduces carmakers' liability.
Machines are learning to think for themselves. This has never happened before. And the world of driving vehicles might be forever changed.
Case in point: texting while driving... It's now a leading cause of car crashes, right up there with drunk driving. It leads to more minor accidents and about one-third as many deaths as drunk driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Technology can protect us from that.
It's hard to measure what this might be worth, but Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang believes self-driving cars will hit the market much sooner than the five-to-10-year range outside experts anticipate.
We agree. At first, we expect this self-driving car will be styled as offering "advanced driver-assistance technologies." You'll be able take your hands and your eyes off the road, and the car will take over... But you'll own the liability.
This new market can add billions of dollars in revenue to Nvidia. Each 1% of the total vehicle market share... at $1,000 per graphics card... is worth $950 million to the company. And although Nvidia is a well-known tech company, nobody on Wall Street is betting on "artificial brains" as a business segment.
Every day, we see more steps taken toward the era of autonomous cars. German car manufacturer Audi is planning on releasing its A8 sedan with some self-driving features when it goes on sale in Europe next year. It will still need a human at the wheel to take over under certain conditions, but the car will be able to safely drive itself up to almost 40 miles per hour. And this week, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota announced it's investing $500 million in rideshare company Uber Technologies to help develop self-driving technology.
We're getting closer and closer to a point when you won't even have to drive yourself to work. Investors who get in early will benefit most from this trend's massive future growth potential.
Editor's note: Some experts are now predicting 10 million self-driving cars will be on the road by 2022. But all this is only possible thanks to a new breakthrough technology. It's the key driver of what insiders are already calling the biggest technological innovation since the steam engine, electricity, and the Internet. The Stansberry Innovations Report team recently discovered a way to invest in this huge breakthrough... Click here for more details.
On Wednesday, Ben Morris told DailyWealth readers about a similarly disruptive technology... and how investors can start making money off it, regardless of where the broad market goes next. Get the details here.
Tech stocks are going to be some of the biggest winners as Steve's "Melt Up" thesis plays out. Learn his favorite "one click" way to go long tech stocks here: Don't Think... Just Own This in the 'Melt Up.'
Today, we’re checking in on one of our favorite blue-chip companies…
Regular readers know we’re big fans of “World Dominators.” These companies present great investment opportunities… They have huge, global brands and long histories of steady growth. In the past, we’ve highlighted this theme with Google’s parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) and medical-services company Quest Diagnostics (DGX). Today, we’re following this trend with an Internet giant…
Cisco (CSCO) makes routers and switches… what we often refer to as the “plumbing” of the Internet. Many of the world’s biggest companies – like Google and Amazon (AMZN) – rely on Cisco’s products to keep their businesses running. And these partnerships are paying off for the company and shareholders alike… In the last quarter, Cisco returned nearly $8 billion to shareholders through dividends and buybacks.
As you can see below, CSCO shares are in a long-term uptrend. Shares are up more than 20% this year alone, and recently hit a new multiyear high. If you want to grow your wealth safely in the market, look no further than World Dominators like Cisco…