Best Autonomous Driving Stocks to Boost Your Portfolio in 2021

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Jul. 8 2021, Published 3:05 p.m. ET

Along with EV (electric vehicle) technology, autonomous (or self-driving) technology is considered to be the future of mobility. Auto and technology companies have invested billions of dollars to benefit from the huge potential in this market. What are the best autonomous driving stocks that you can buy in 2021?

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With autonomous technology, mobility will be possible without the need for an active human driver. However, the technology still has significant obstacles, including safety and regulatory approvals.

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How autonomous driving works

Autonomous vehicles rely on sensors, machine learnings systems, complex algorithms, and powerful processors to run the software. A driver-less vehicle creates and maintains a map of its surrounding environment based on various sensors located in different parts of the vehicle.

After processing all of this sensory data, advanced software draws a path and sends commands to the vehicle’s actuators, which control steering, acceleration, and braking. Self-driving cars aren't affected by factors like driver fatigue, illness, or emotion.

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Best Autonomous driving stocks to buy now

In October 2020, Alphabet subsidiary Waymo won the race to offer the first Level 4 fully autonomous car service in the U.S. Waymo One customers in Phoenix can request completely autonomous rides from Waymo’s fleet of over 300 cars. Waymo plans to extend its service in 2021 and beyond.

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While Ford and General Motors were late to recognize the move to EVs, they are making every effort to dominate the autonomous vehicle race. Ford plans to introduce its autonomous vehicles in 2022. These vehicles are based on its fourth-generation autonomous technology in partnership with Argo AI. Ford intends to invest $29 billion in EVs and autonomous vehicles through 2025.

Cruise, a majority-owned self-driving car subsidiary of General Motors, is expected to start production of its driverless shuttle called the Origin in early 2023. General Motors has entered into a long-term strategic partnership with software giant Microsoft to commercialize autonomous vehicles.

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When semiconductor giant Intel acquired Mobileye, an Israeli autonomous driving technology company, for $15.3 billion in 2017, it immediately became a significant contender in the autonomous vehicle market. Mobileye is the world’s top manufacturer of advanced driver-assistance systems.

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Volkswagen has invested around $2.6 billion in Argo AI, which plans to launch robo-taxis and autonomous delivery fleets in the U.S. by 2022. Volkswagen has stated that it intends to invest $86 billion in autonomous and EV technologies by 2025.

Baidu, a Chinese internet search giant, became the sixth firm to be awarded a fully autonomous testing permit in California in January and joined Cruise, Waymo, Nuro, Zoox, and AutoX. Since 2016, Baidu has been testing autonomous cars with safety drivers in California.

Outlook for autonomous driving stocks

The outlook for self-driving stocks looks promising. Autonomous cars and autonomous ride-sharing might be the fastest-growing areas in the automotive industry in the long run. The global autonomous vehicle market size is expected to reach $557 billion by 2026 compared to $54 billion in 2019. Autonomous cars have the potential to improve road safety and provide convenience to users.

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