Autonomous vehicles are a pretty new invention and have thus only been on the streets in limited numbers over the past decade. Most recently, Honda has joined the bunch, releasing a new autonomous vehicle in Japan. Honda will only be releasing 100 of the limited-edition Sedans. So, what sets these vehicles apart from the competition? Well for one the vehicle is the first in Japan to receive a “ Level 3” self-driving designation. Level 3 refers to the stage of autonomy the car has. According to Synopsis, Level 3 vehicles have “environmental detection” capabilities and can make informed decisions for themselves, such as accelerating past a slow-moving vehicle. But―they still require a human override.
When doing the comparative, investors can look to autonomous and electric vehicles favorite Tesla. Tesla has only logged a mere 12.2 autonomous testing miles in California, and CNET has called Tesla’s current level of autonomy not “even reliably Level 3 autonomous”. This comes as a harsh reality with Elon Musk making the bold claim that Tesla will achieve level 5 autonomy by the end of 2021, which would mean Tesla’s cars would not require human attention. Level 5 cars won’t even have steering wheels or acceleration/braking pedals. They will be free from geofencing, able to go anywhere and do anything that an experienced human driver can do. So far, few companies are ahead of level 3, and even then, the cars are still not out for the public. For example, just a few months ago, Volvo and Baidu announced a strategic partnership to jointly develop Level 4 electric vehicles that will serve the robotaxi market in China. Level 4 vehicles are effectively the same as level 3 but also can intervene if things go wrong or there is a system failure. Level 4 vehicles will likely not be out for many years.
Will you be investing in the autonomous vehicles market? Or will you sit back and stick to regular cars?
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.