Last night, back in my hotel room at Harrah’s Casino, I flicked on the TV while doing a bit of work. Scrolling through the channels, there wasn’t much on.
MSNBC, Fox, CNN, and NBC all had boring news stuff. It was almost all exclusively about Iran and Trump’s order to assassinate. Boring. Next!
Friends wasn’t going to cut it. Neither was some American sitcom, Last Man Standing, I’d never heard about before. And then I stumbled across the blockbuster Hollywood epic, Avatar.
I always liked that movie. Could watch it over and over and it always kept my interest. I’ve probably seen it almost a half dozen times now. Avatar it would be.
Now, seeing Avatar on the TV or in the cinema is one thing. But I didn’t expect to see it again the next day on the exhibition floor at CES. What was even stranger was the fact I saw it on the Mercedes-Benz exhibition in the form of a concept car.
The Mercedes Vision AVTR is a collaboration between Mercedes and James Cameron. And it was Cameron who unveiled the car at the Daimler (Mercedes parent company) keynote. I got to see it in its ‘flesh’ yesterday though.
It’s a pretty slick looking car. It has no steering wheel (as many concepts don’t) because it’s supposed to be autonomous. It also had flexible panels and ‘scales’. The car can also move forwards, backwards, and sideways thanks to crazy wheel design.
But as great as the AVTR looked, you’ll never see it on the road. The idea of a concept like this isn’t to sell units. The idea is to present an idea the company is trying to work on. And in Mercedes’ case, the idea they were trying to get across was sustainability. They were pushing the message of the convergence of man, machine, and nature.
Lofty ambition. And a noble target to strive towards getting entire car supply chains to be environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Car companies moving into tech
Car companies now are all about presenting these ‘visions’ of the future. And each year at CES, the presence of car companies gets bigger and stronger. No longer do they see themselves as car companies either. Most of them are ‘tech’ companies that happen to assemble and sell cars.
This movement from car to tech company is a sign of how big corporations will operate in the near future. They will be fluid between industries that suit their corporate goals.
That’s why Hyundai showcased their flying taxi. And it’s why Sony decided to launch its own concept car.
Yep, Sony, the legendary audio company released its very first concept car this week. Now you do need to ask why they would do such a thing…
Is Sony about to get into carmaking? And if so, will it be the death knell of the company? We all know it’s no easy task to just pick up and start making cars. The capital resource needed to start, tool up, and produce is immense.
Dyson tried to get a car program off the ground. They poured billions of pounds into their venture. And they couldn’t even continue to a point where they released a prototype.
The good news for Sony fans is that it’s unlikely Sony is going to make cars. The whole point of the concept Vision-S (they all love a ‘Vision’ don’t they?) is to showcase Sony’s view of our future.
After all the Sony stand was full of the usual fare: TVs, phones, audio…but a car? Well that would get people’s attention.
Source: Sony’s Vision-S. Source: Editor’s own photo
Sony like others at CES with the budgets, all paint a picture of their vision of our future. Sony’s came in the guise of a ‘mobility solution’. A combination of safety, entertainment, and adaptability. That’s what they said at least.
Regardless of their vision, the car is a showcase of the technology Sony can deliver. It was their finest peacock moment, and quite likely stole the entire show from other major brands like LG or Samsung.
But what we also see is that Sony’s vision isn’t all that different from that of Mercedes. Or that of Hyundai, or that of Samsung, Qualcomm, Toyota, Intel, or other tech giants of the world.
What the future looks like
They all see and are working towards a future that looks remarkably the same. A future of autonomous tech. A future where our digital experience follows us and is available to us everywhere we exist in the world.
It’s a future built on augmented reality, autonomous systems, and smart cities. Those are just a few of the key trends they all see. And they’re all correct. This is what our future ends up being.
These are the companies that help push us there. They’re the ones that have the resources and size to deliver it. But they’re not alone. While they’re all companies that have decades-long experience (centuries for some), they all started somewhere from scratch.
For example, Tesla is currently constructing tunnels underneath Las Vegas. These tunnels will transport people around the city in (hopefully) self-driving pods. It’s expected this will be ready for next year’s CES.
This is part of this push to the future that’s coming. And Tesla is now one of those companies that’s pushing us to that future. But Tesla didn’t exist as a publicly investable stock a decade ago.
Tesla went public at the end of June 2010. Almost 10 years, but not quite. And over this next decade as we move to this inevitable future, others like Tesla will arrive on public markets. They will create opportunities for investors with long-term vision like some of these tech giants.
It’s these new companies that we look for. The ones that will sit alongside the likes of Tesla, Sony, Mercedes, and Hyundai — delivering our future. And hopefully over the next decade, delivering generational profits to investors as well.
Editor, Money Morning
PS: We believe these rapid fire market opportunities are a fantastic way to grow your wealth. Which is why you’ll find us talking about the big trends that can uncover them. If that is something up your investment alley, then click here to learn more.