The Shock of the New: Tech Revolution Across the World

Imagine the shock and awe British villagers felt when the steam train rolled into town for the first time.

So many people wanted to ride one that they stopped going to church on Sunday’s. It was the only free day the people had.

The church began efforts to have the ‘ungodly’ machines banned.

The world would never be the same.

It’s happening again in the car industry right now.

These exciting developments have enormous potential to create all sorts of new and wonderful things. And people are going to want to buy them.

Yet, somehow it gets lost in the endless speculation about whether the Fed will raise short-term rates a quarter of a percent. In 10 years, nobody will even remember the debate around the Fed. But their car could possibly be unrecognizable compared to today.

Look at what’s happening all over the world:

Over in Germany, the Frankfurt motor show opened this week. The star vehicle is a battery powered Porsche. It’s capable of travelling 500 kilometres on a single charge.

The car can refuel to 80% full in 15 minutes. And it can accelerate to 100 kilometres per hour in 3.5 seconds.

My colleague Phil Anderson said he’d even consider trading up his own Porsche to get his hands on this new one. It’s that impressive.

Looks pretty cool to me…

Source: Financial Times

Volkswagen (which own Porsche) decides whether to put the car into production later in the year. But look at what we’re seeing already.

Big money in auto tech

Luxury car-makers Audi AG, BMW and Daimler recently agreed to pay €2.5 billion for Nokia’s digital mapping business. That’s because the future is connected and self-driving cars.

German parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen also paid US$12 billion recently to own a braking firm in the US. Here’s why (WSJ reports):

Last week, 10 leading auto makers agreed to make automatic braking systems a standard safety feature in future cars, just like seat belt and air bags. Using cameras, radar sensors and software, these braking systems can stop the car automatically if the driver doesn’t respond in time to avoid a collision.’

How long before you and me — the drivers — are gone completely?

Currently, Google is testing self-driving cars as part of its Google X labs. The cars are already driving 10,000 miles a week in California and Texas.

The commercialisation of self-driving cars just took a step closer. Google said this week it has hired John Krafcik. Krafcik used to work for Hyundai and is a veteran in the auto industry.

Hiring Krafcik is a step from turning these from an experimental concept into a significant business.

Google is hardly alone in the self-driving car space either. Toyota, Audi and Uber are all investing millions.

It doesn’t end there…

Germany is not alone investing in the future

Britain has now launched Europe’s largest research centre. The country wants to lead the world in developing 5G mobile technology. This is what will enable self-driving cars and ‘smart cities’.

The research centre will have 170 staff funded with over US$100 million in grants.

5G will be able to deliver data 3000 times faster than the current 4G capability in the UK.

The Financial Times saysthe demand for wireless capacity during the next decade could go up 1000%. 50 billion devices could be connected globally by 2022.

Look at the potential savings from all this

It’s not just the tech we have to look at here.

There’s been a few studies done on the economic benefits 100% autonomous cars bring.

A Morgan Stanley research report in February put a base estimate on the annual savings to the US economy like this:

  • Fuel savings: US$158 billion
  • Accident savings: US$563 billion
  • Productivity gains: US$422 billion (freeing drivers to do whatever they want)
  • Congestion savings: US$149 billion


Those savings are over a trillion dollars. That’s big money.

Admittedly, that’s one report.

The truth is no one knows where these developments can take us.

We only know they’re coming in ways we least expect.

Newsweek ran a story back in August about how it’s quite possible you will be paid to drive an electric car. Literally, paid.

No, we’re not entering the socialist nirvana Karl Marx envisioned. Power companies are going to rely more on renewable energy. Solar and wind energy can be intermittent.

The companies will need access to a constant and reliable source of power as a back-up.

One solution is vehicle-to-grid technology. That would mean a computerised system could send your electric car’s battery power to the electrical grid.

And you get paid for it.

As above, these are hugely bullish possibilities for the world. To see how to position to profit from all this, start here.


Callum Newman

Associate Editor, Cycles, Trends and Forecasts

Originally graduating with a degree in Communications, Callum decided financial markets were far more fascinating than anything Marshall McLuhan (the ‘medium is the message’) ever came up with. Today Callum spends his day reading and researching why currencies, commodities and stocks move like they do. So far he’s discovered it’s often in a way you least expect.

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