We have witnessed some truly incredible innovations in the automotive industry over the past few decades. From extraordinarily accurate navigation systems to cars powered entirely by electricity, it seems like every year the technology that powers our most common mode of transportation takes a giant leap. There was a time not too long ago when it was hard to imagine a car that drives itself. However, thanks to several companies that are hard at work creating new tech that powers autonomous vehicles, that vision is becoming a reality. The widespread use of autonomous vehicles could be on the card sooner than you think, which is why it might pay off to start tracking some of the companies that are working on making it happen.
Some of these companies are highly speculative investments that could end up hitting the skids on their progress, but that hasn’t stopped investors from piling in. There’s a good chance that the autonomous vehicle sector is the next big thing in the market, which means investors should begin to familiarize themselves with some of the companies operating in the space.
Keep reading below to learn about 3 autonomous vehicle stocks for investors to watch.
Luminar Technologies (NASDAQ:LAZR)
Luminar Technologies is a company that recently closed its SPAC reverse merger and began trading on the Nasdaq on December 3rd. The company makes lidar (light detection and ranging) scanners, which is a laser-based technology that helps to detect nearby objects in self-driving cars. The stock has performed extremely well thus far and is up over 80% since its market debut, confirming that there is plenty of investor interest in autonomous vehicle companies.
Luminar is one of the only pure-play autonomous vehicle stocks and trades at an incredibly lofty valuation. The company reported revenues of roughly $13 million last year yet has a market capitalization of over $2 billion. With that said, there are some good reasons to track this company going forward. Luminar has inked partnership deals with 7 of the top 10 automakers and has an order backlog of about $1.3 billion at this time. Luminar is also backed by Peter Thiel, who provided the initial capital to the company’s young CEO Austin Russell back in 2012.
Next on our list is another company that creates the lidar technology which powers self-driving cars. Like Luminar, this company’s technology has a lot of potential as advanced driver assistance systems and self-driving vehicles could become the norm sooner rather than later. The global lidar market is estimated to be worth about $1.5 billion in 2019 and could reach $3.6 billion by 2025. There will be clear winners to come out of the autonomous vehicle industry, and Velodyne could be one of them.
It’s worth noting that Ford (NYSE:F) has taken a 7.6% stake in this stock. Chinese search engine behemoth Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has also inked a three-year deal with Velodyne to help with its autonomous driving initiatives. Velodyne recently reported a 137% revenue increase in Q3 to $32.1 million and signed 6 new multi-year agreements during the quarter. With that said, the company reported a $5.3 million GAAP net loss and still has a long way to go towards achieving profitability. Consider this another highly speculative autonomous vehicle stock that is worth monitoring going forward.
General Motors (NYSE:GM)
The last stock on our list is a familiar name that is one of the leaders in the AV race. Specifically, GM’s Cruise subsidiary is committed to becoming a first-mover in autonomous vehicle services. The company has plans to test autonomous vehicles without drivers or passengers by December 31st after receiving a permit from the state of California. There’s also the recent announcement back in November that General Motors is teaming up with Walmart to test driverless deliveries in Arizona.
Finally, General Motors Super Cruise automatic-driving technology beat all competing systems in a recent Consumer Reports test, which included Tesla’s Autopilot system. This technology will be made available on more than 20 GM models over the next three years. It’s easy for investors to understand the potential of autonomous vehicles and their related technology, which is why GM is committing its resources towards becoming a leader in the space. The latest round of fundraising for GM’s Cruise valued the company at $19 billion. The bottom line here is that GM is an undervalued stock that could be in the driver’s seat in the autonomous vehicle market going forward.
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