What three letters can get tech followers geeked on the gadgets and gizmos that could become their next must-haves? It's an acronym that starts with C, then E, and ends with S. The investment community is also an interested party in the annual Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, as it’s an opportunity to gauge how other sets of letters could react—those being stock tickers.
Companies from Silicon Valley and beyond descended on Las Vegas recently looking to show their latest wares and concepts. For investors interested in tracking the highlights, particularly those looking toward auto’s growing integration with tech, let’s take a look at what had people buzzing from The Strip to The Street.
The unofficial start to CES has become chipmaker NVIDIA’s (NVDA) presentation on the Sunday before the event’s Tuesday opening. And this year’s version offered investors yet more evidence of how technology is set to disrupt traditional sectors and forge new alliances in auto.
Headlining the presentation was NVIDIA’s announcement of two new software platforms, DRIVE IX and DRIVE AR. According to the company, DRIVE IX will enable artificial intelligence assistants for drivers and passengers, while DRIVE AR will “deliver information points of interest along a drive, create alerts, and navigate safely and easily.”1 Also notable was NVIDIA’s announcement that it would bring its artificial intelligence technology to new partnerships with several companies, including Volkswagen and Uber.
Investors appeared enthused by what NVIDIA offered last week, amid the stock hitting a 52-week high during CES.2
Changing with the times
Traditional auto heavyweight Ford (F) unveiled its “City of Tomorrow” concept, one that looks to create more seamless mobility by connecting vehicles, pedestrians, and traffic lights, among others.
The company highlighted that “mobility advancements such as autonomous and electric vehicles, ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and connected vehicles could potentially interact with urban infrastructure and create a more cohesive transportation eco-system.”3
To help make that vision a reality, Ford announced a partnership with semiconductor and telecommunications firm Qualcomm (QCOM). Ford also said it will partner with mayors across the country, as well as Bloomberg Philanthropies, to create new technologies to facilitate urban mobility.
A new kind of retail
Toyota (TM) may be at the forefront of a new trend that goes beyond simply getting people from Point A to Point B sans driver. The company’s new e-Palette Concept Vehicle had some market observers noting the impact it could have on the retail industry, of all things.4
The idea centers on a fleet of customizable shuttles able to merge the online and offline shopping experience. The shuttles, which have been targeted to begin testing in the US by 2020, can be used for a range of functions, from parcel delivery to ride-sharing. Toyota calls it automated mobility as a service, or Autono-MaaS.
Partners in the fully automated, next generation battery electric vehicle service include Amazon, Uber, and Yum Brands.
If you're an investor
Autos went to tech’s house first. This week, tech went to auto’s pad for the annual Detroit Auto Show. What can investors expect? Additional insight on how tech continues to alter the auto status quo is likely.
Sometimes these events aren’t all fun and games, though. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich used his CES keynote speech to address news of security holes in the company’s chips that hackers could use to gain access to sensitive information held on PCs, phones, and tablets. Intel, along with the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Google, rushed to deliver system updates to address potential threats.
Still, the opportunity to hear directly from companies in high-profile settings like these can be useful in helping investors understand new concepts, and whether exposure could be right for their portfolio.
1. Shapiro, Danny. “NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier, World’s Most Powerful SoC, Brings Dramatic New AI Capabilities,” NVIDIA Corporation, 7 Jan. 2018. https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2018/01/07/drive-xavier-processor/
2. As of January xx, 2018 according to Morningstar, http://quotes.morningstar.com/chart/stock/chart.action?t=NVDA®ion=USA&culture=en_US
3. "The City of Tomorrow,” The Ford Motor Company. https://corporate.ford.com/innovation/city-of-tomorrow.html
4. Marshall, Aarian. “Toyota Joins With Uber and Amazon to Find Its Self-Driving Future,” WIRED, 8 Jan. 2018. https://www.wired.com/story/toyota-self-driving-epalette-uber-amazon-pizza-hut/