What are the best companies for driverless investment?

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With driverless cars becoming a bigger deal every day, it seems like it won’t be long before the money that the industry analysts promise, will come flowing in. Within 10 years many speculate that the automated industry could be worth as much as £900 billion around the world, which is no small sum. Therefore, if you want to get in on the ground-floor and secure some shares that may go up thanks to driverless developments, which ones should you be looking into?

The key ones, according to Fool, are Google, Nokia and Mobileye. While this list may surprise, since it omits the many traditional automakers that are also developing such technologies, it’s the software giant and the technology makers behind the scene which stand to make the most from the creation of automated vehicles. If anything, once self-piloted cars begin hitting the road, much of the traditional automotive industry is going to fall away, which is why tech-firms, rather than manufacturing ones are the best place to put your money.

Due to pricing, Google is unlikely to market its self-driving pod cars to anyone outside of businesses or local councils. However, the technology behind it could be utilised by many different firms and that’s where Google could make a killing. Even if it’s expensive, other firms would jump at the chance to leapfrog the years of testing and trials that Google has already puts its technology through.

As impressive as these are, they are very expensive.

As impressive as these are, they are very expensive.

Nokia might seem like an odd choice though, what with Microsoft buying up its most well known business: mobile handsets. However, Nokia HERE still has over 90 per cent of the embedded automotive maps market, which means its data is going to be used in the first generation of driverless vehicles, whether for the visual mapping for onboard passengers, or for the internet-of-things enabled tracking and sensor suites that make up the automated vehicle’s systems.

There’s also talk of the likes of Facebook or Apple buying the company for several billion dollars in the near future, which in turn could help boost share values.

Mobileye on the other hand, is the company behind most of the world’s pedestrian and obstacle detection cameras, which are going to be used in abundance on the first generation of driverless vehicles. With costs for installation as low as $1,000 too, even those with vehicles that don’t have automation could consider fitting the cameras for improved safety. While autonomous braking may not be possible without additional expenditure, warning systems and semi-autonomous cruise control might be.

While there will undoubtedly be other firms that manage to earn a stake in the driverless industry’s biggest developments, these three are going to be some of the biggest players and therefore the biggest earners for investors in the near future.

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.