- By 2022, self-driving cars will fill the roads
- How autonomous drones can save California from wildfires
- This exoskeleton makes 200 pounds feel like 10 pounds
Happy New Year.
I hope that this year’s first regular issue of The Bleeding Edge finds everyone well-rested and excited about what is coming in 2020.
2019 proved to be an incredible year for the U.S. economy and U.S. equity markets. The Nasdaq Composite was up 34% on the year and the S&P 500 was up an impressive 29%.
But those results are nothing compared to the performance my subscribers saw with my research services The Near Future Report, Exponential Tech Investor, and Early Stage Trader.
And I picked the No. 1 performing stock on the S&P 500 again – AMD. I’ve picked the No. 1 stock three out of the last four years. I’ll provide a more detailed update someday next week, but in short, we widely outperformed the markets in all three portfolios.
There is such great economic and technological momentum as we enter 2020. This is going to be another fantastic year for investing in technology. 2020 is also the beginning of a decade that will bring more technological advancements than we have seen in the last 50 years.
We’re going to see manned missions to the Moon and Mars and the beginning of permanent settlements in space. We’ll see the commercialization of nuclear fusion – zero radiation, zero emissions, and completely clean and limitless energy production. And we’ll cure cancer and so many other horrible diseases that have no known cures today.
I could go on and on, but the key point is that we have a lot to look forward to.
And we will certainly see some of the best investment opportunities of our lifetimes.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and very profitable 2020.
NVIDIA will power mass-market self-driving cars…
Just before Christmas, NVIDIA hosted its GPU Technology Conference in China. There, the company announced its next-generation NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin platform. This is the company’s latest autonomous driving platform.
I first talked publicly about NVIDIA’s autonomous driving strategy at a Bonner & Partners conference at the Rancho Santana resort in Nicaragua back in early 2016.
What I highlighted back then was NVIDIA’s full-stack approach to autonomous driving. It was developing custom semiconductors, the hardware platform, and the software platform to make it all work.
This was a great way to break into the auto market. NVIDIA’s DRIVE platform was something carmakers could work with immediately. And it helped them get up to speed on self-driving technology quickly.
By the way, NVIDIA went on to be the No. 1 S&P 500 stock of that year. Anybody who followed my recommendation at that conference had the chance at 1,000% returns. (And in my Near Future Report, we’re currently up nearly 69% on NVIDIA just in the last year.)
Some thought I was crazy to recommend what many considered a computer gaming company, but I pounded the table for investors to buy shares in what was really an artificial intelligence (AI) company (as NVIDIA’s GPUs run AI). For those who didn’t take action, it was a costly mistake.
Well, NVIDIA’s next-generation platform is beyond impressive. It is remarkably more powerful than the previous version.
The new semiconductor is called Orin. It is made of 17 billion transistors. And it can operate at 200 TOPS. That means it can do 200 trillion operations per second. That’s nearly seven times the performance of NVIDIA’s previous autonomous driving chip. It’s an incredible jump.
NVIDIA announced that the first cars to use this platform will hit the market in 2022. Here’s the inside story on that…
If we remember, carmakers start working on new models four years in advance. That’s how long it takes to go from design to production.
So that means NVIDIA has already sold its new platform to carmakers. For 2022 models to come with this equipped, carmakers must have begun working on them in 2018. Therefore, NVIDIA already knows which 2022 models will use the NVIDIA DRIVE platform.
And remember, NVIDIA can sell this platform to any carmaker in the world. This means that by 2022, self-driving cars will be mass market. There will be numerous options for consumers to choose from.
I’m already on the record saying that 2020 will be the first year that self-driving cars are available for consumers to buy or lease. From there, the race is on. By 2022, self-driving cars will be widespread.
The technology that can prevent California’s wildfires…
A few weeks ago, California utility PG&E agreed to pay $13.5 billion to settle claims from the horrific wildfires in the state due to the gross mismanagement of its electrical infrastructure.
One of PG&E’s big problems is that it monitors its immense infrastructure manually. That’s impossible to do efficiently in a state as big as California.
Well, a private company called Quanergy just proposed a novel solution. I have been following Quanergy closely for a while now. It is known for developing solid-state LIDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles.
Quanergy suggested putting its LIDAR sensors on autonomous drones.
These drones can “fly the wires” and report back any problems. It estimates that a single drone could map 40 acres in just 20 minutes. That’s very efficient. And drones are inexpensive to operate.
So Quanergy is proposing to merge three bleeding-edge technologies – aerial drones, autonomous technology, and LIDAR – to solve the problem. To me, this solution is just common sense. And we have evidence that it could work…
PreNav, another private early stage company I’m tracking, has been doing something similar for years.
PreNav has been using autonomous drones equipped with LIDAR to inspect critical infrastructure and assess damage. It has been focused on things like bridges, dams, and cell towers, but there’s no reason why this approach couldn’t work for power lines.
Now, there’s no guarantee that PG&E will adopt this technology. But even if it is foolish enough to pass, I’m confident this technology will be adopted elsewhere.
Technologies that reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies – and in this case, safety – will ultimately be widely adopted. And PG&E will eventually have no choice.
Looking forward, Quanergy and PreNav are two companies that need to be on every tech investors’ watchlist. PreNav is a little earlier in its life cycle, but there’s a good chance Quanergy will go public this year.
Robotic exoskeletons – coming to a jobsite near you…
An exciting new product release just caught my eye. Robotics company Sarcos just announced the Guardian XO. It’s a robotic exoskeleton that allows anyone to lift up to 200 pounds.
The Sarcos Guardian XO Powered Exosuit
Source: IEEE Spectrum
This reminds me of the exoskeletons used in the movie Avatar. Except this one is for industrial work, not military campaigns.
The Guardian XO is adjustable to fit any adult. It has 24 degrees of motion freedom. And it makes 200-pound objects feel like they weigh 10 pounds. Incredible.
Plus, battery packs power the exoskeleton. That means there are no wires. A fully charged battery pack will run the exoskeleton for two hours, and then users can swap in another battery pack. There’s no downtime that way.
This is the future of industrial work. The Guardian XO can efficiently move heavy objects around while reducing the risk of human injury.
And I’m not the only one who understands the incredible applications this technology could have on industrial sites.
Caterpillar and General Electric are some of the big names that have invested in the venture capital funding rounds for Sarcos. We should not be surprised if we start seeing these exoskeletons pop up on jobsites around the world.
This is the decade where we will see extraordinary advancements in robotics technology – specifically, robots that will assist and augment human workers.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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