Where Is the Real Self-Driving Tech Boom?

In May 2017, an Indonesian man died. Now this isn’t exactly earth shattering news. Except it’s assumed that the man was 146 years old when he died.

Sodimedjo (aka Grandpa Ghoto) was born in December 1870. We say assumed as Indonesia only started births records in 1900. But there’s other information to accept 146 is likely true.

146. Amazing.

Apparently he would recall stories of Japanese and Dutch colonisers. That’s the just the tip of the iceberg really.

Imagine being 146 years old. Imagine the changes you would see in that lifetime.

Curious we had a look to see what else was going on in 1870.  We discovered:

  • Construction started on the Brooklyn Bridge
  • The Deutsche Bank was founded in Berlin
  • Port Adelaide Football Club was founded and played their first Australian rules football game
  • Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the US
  • France declared war on Prussia
  • Vladimir Lenin was born
  • Charles Dickens died

But when it came to ‘tech’, 1870 was relatively ‘low-tech’.


Spotify in the Benz at 146

It wasn’t until 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell created the prototype telephone. And another three years later Thomas Edison would invent the light bulb. Ed note: and the world’s first ‘light bulb moment’.

It was also 1871 when Germany unified and began the Second Reich.

Then in 1886 (when Grandpa Ghoto was 16), Austrian Karl Benz invented the first car powered by an internal combustion engine. Benz didn’t mass-produce the car (that would happen a few years later in 1908 thanks to Henry Ford). But he did pioneer it.

And yes, that was also the origin of Mercedes Benz.

Grandpa Ghoto was older than the history of the car. That’s saying something.

He must have been astounded at the radical changes he saw over the years. But in our view having seen the entire history of the car ranks up there with the most significant change.

Just think about the high tech capabilities of cars today.

Most new cars now have connectivity to the cloud, GPS, emergency services and you. Then there’s the internal tech. Things like ABS, climate control, power steering, reversing camera, parking sensors, sat-nav, hybrid power trains, digital displays, Bluetooth, adaptive cruise control and driver monitoring systems.

We’re pretty sure when Grandpa Ghoto saw his first car he didn’t think he’d be able to Bluetooth his Spotify account to his Benz later in life.

Ed Note: Grandpa Ghoto didn’t have a Benz, Spotify account or smartphone. He was 146. But you hopefully get our point.

The car is now the most high tech piece of kit you’ll possibly ever own. Sure your smartphone is high tech. And yes your computer has some pretty wild processing power these days.

But nothing comes close to the new cars of today. And nothing you own will come close to the cars of the future.

We should also note when we say ‘future’ we’re not talking about 10–15 years away. We’re talking about the next two to three years. But also cast your mind to what the ‘car’ looks like in another 146 years.

Consider the change Grandpa Ghoto saw. Now think about what you might see if you live to 146…



One thing we’ll never see at CES

Grandpa Ghoto never got to ride in a self-driving car. He saw some incredible advances in car tech. But he just missed out on self-driving. Shame.

You see we’ve been in a self-driving car. Attending CES® 2017 in Las Vegas we were a guest of NVIDIA’s at their self-driving car centre.

Located out in the car park they had an Audi Q7 tricked out with their latest tech. In the back we sat, and away the car went. No driver. The seat was still there, the steering wheel, dash, and all the normal stuff. But no driver.

Unnerving at first. But after sitting in the car and letting it do its thing, it was surprisingly pleasant. And we’re a big believer that if you don’t feel these pioneering technologies for yourself, it can be hard to understand their true potential.

Each year CES® puts on the latest in pioneering car tech. The show is far more than just car tech we might add. It’s the best and most revolutionary tech in all kinds of consumer technologies.

We love it all. But the car tech, that really gets us pumped about the future.

And this year (while we didn’t attend) we know the major car companies dominated again. Mainly around their self-driving tech and connected networks.

When you visit CES® you see it’s a huge event. Millions of square feet of floor space. But we don’t think it’s big enough. At least not big enough for the real boom in self-driving tech.

You see car companies get the media attention for this tech revolution. And so they should. Self-driving cars are definitely going to change the face of transport and logistics.

But there’s one thing we don’t really see at CES. One thing we probably never will. And we think that ignoring it might miss out on one of the real boom industries of the automated revolution.



Arrr, no more pirating for you

We don’t envisage we’ll ever see an automated container ship in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Centre. For a start the only water nearby is at the Bellagio.

The point being that we’ll likely see autonomous (self-driving) ships on the oceans before cars on the road.

That means within the next 12–18 months autonomous shipping may become reality. Now this may come via fully autonomous ships. Or possibly remotely controlled ships.

The International Maritime Organisation is already setting up frameworks for these vessels.

We also know Rolls Royce has been working on it. Mikael Makinen, President of Rolls Royce Marine, recently said:

Autonomous shipping is the future of the maritime industry. As disruptive as the smart phone, the smart ship will revolutionize the landscape of ship design and operations.

The benefits are huge for the logistics industry. The potential to reduce costs and improve efficiency is incredible. And let’s also not forget Somali piracy (yep, real pirates) had an economic cost of around US$1.7 billion in 2016. Unmanned ships quickly make piracy a far more difficult proposition when there’s no one to take hostage.

Rolls Royce may be a leader in this field. But there are others that see the opportunity and are furiously working away at it. Kongsberg and Yara will build and operate full electric autonomous capable ships this year.

They expect by 2020 the ships will be completely unmanned.

They may not be as sexy as cars. They might not look as great, feel as great or bring out emotive response in people. But ships are heading high tech.

And it’s quite possible the self-driving revolution really starts on the oceans, not the roads.



Sam Volkering,
Editor, Secret Crypto Network

Sam Volkering is an Editor for Money Morning and is small-cap, cryptocurrency and technology expert.

He’s not interested in boring blue chip stocks. He’s after explosive investments; companies whose shares trade for cents on the dollar, cryptocurrencies that can deliver life-changing returns. He looks for the ‘edge of the bell curve’ opportunities that are often shunned by those in the financial services industry.

If you’d like to learn about the specific investments Sam is recommending in either small-cap stocks or cryptocurrencies, take a 30-day trial of his small-cap investment advisory Australian Small-Cap Investigator here, or a 30-day trial of his industry leading cryptocurrency service, Sam Volkering’s Secret Crypto Network here.

But that’s not where Sam’s talents end. Sam specialises in finding new, cutting edge tech and translating that research into how the future will look — and where the opportunities lie. It’s his job to trawl the world to find, analyse, research and recommend investments in the world’s most revolutionary companies.

He recommends the best ones he finds in his premium investment service, Revolutionary Tech Investor. Sam goes to the lengths of the globe and works 24/7 to get these opportunities to you before the mainstream catches on. Click here to take a 30-day no-obligation trial of Revolutionary Tech Investor today.

Websites and financial e-letters Sam writes for:

Money Morning Australia