Today, I’m bringing in my good friend Stephen McBride to help us kick off 2021.
If you don’t know, Stephen is what I like to call a disruption “visionary”…
I’ve never met anyone who can predict, with such accuracy, the world-changing disruptive trends of tomorrow.
- Take “computer vision” technology, for example. As far as I know, Stephen is the first and only analyst to identify “computer vision” as the next world-changing tech trend. And his top computer vision stock is up 66%.
- Stephen was also early to predict the end of traditional banks... and that “new money” disruptors will take over. His subscribers are sitting on a solid gain of 111% in PayPal (PYPL).
- Then there’s his “Amazon Killer” stock—which is set up to collect a cut of potentially every online transaction in America. It’s up 88% since he first urged his subscribers to buy it.
So when he told me about his latest prediction for 2021… I knew I had to share it with you right away.
The technology behind this trend has been ready for years. But Stephen says this is the year it’s about to finally be unleashed… And it’s opening up a huge moneymaking opportunity for everyday investors.
With COVID and post-election lawsuits dominating the news, you won’t read much about this in the mainstream media.
But Stephen says this industry quietly hit 2 major milestones in December. And below, he shares 3 exciting ways to profit…
Chris: Stephen, let’s talk about what you’re calling one of the top moneymaking opportunities of 2021…
Stephen: Absolutely, Chris. But first, I want to start by saying this:
You know, I’ve written before about how COVID has basically hit the “fast forward” button on a lot of important industries from solar to 5G to online delivery. It pulled all these trends that were likely to play out in 2025/2030 to right now.
And I’m not just talking about opportunities in the stock market. Just think about how quickly the new COVID vaccines debuted…
Previously, the fastest vaccine to go from development to deployment was for the mumps in the 1960s. It took about 4 years.
COVID vaccines came out in less than 12 months. That’s the fastest ever, and I couldn’t be happier.
Chris: Why do you think that is?
Stephen: The world together is focused on solving one single problem for essentially the first time in history. Even during WWII there were 2 distinct sides and not every country was involved.
But today, all the richest countries and their smartest scientists raced to create vaccines to stop this virus once and for all.
Not only that, but think about the FDA approval. It usually takes a long time. It’s a rigorous process with lots of regulation.
The mRNA technique that was used to develop the vaccines was written within a couple days. And before long was on the fast track to FDA approval. Normally these things take years and years.
Chris: How does this relate to your big idea for 2021?
Stephen: Right… So I’m on record now saying this is the year self-driving cars go mainstream.
I’ve been writing about this opportunity since 2018. In fact, I published an article that summer titled “The End of the Steering Wheel”…
The technology has been ready for a while… as evidenced by Waymo, which is Google’s self-driving car arm.
Waymo is the front-runner in the self-driving race. It’s been ferrying paid passengers around Phoenix in its minivans for the past year. And often with no human “safety driver” standing by to grab the wheel if something goes wrong.
Its robotaxi service, Waymo One, topped 100,000 trips last year. Since 2019 its fully driverless vehicles drove 70,000 miles on US roads.
But it just achieved its biggest milestone yet…
Chris: What’s that?
Stephen: A few weeks ago, Waymo introduced a fully driverless ride-hailing service in Phoenix. Previously, the company only allowed a select few people to test it. Now, anyone in Phoenix can ride in a Waymo vehicle without a human safety driver in the front seat.
Chris: That sounds huge. So I can go to Phoenix right now and get into one of these things no problem? And with no one else in the car?
Stephen: Exactly. All you have to do is download their app… hail a self-driving car just like you would an Uber or Lyft ride… and it’ll show up in no time.
Now, it’s important to note that Phoenix has flat, wide, well-maintained roads… and it’s sunny most of the year. There’s no black ice or mountainous terrain to contend with. Conditions are ideal for self-driving cars.
But there are at least 100 suburbs and metro areas around the US that are similar to Phoenix in this way… and those are the places Waymo will launch next.
Then it’s only a matter of time before we see self-driving cars driving around Manhattan… Chicago… San Francisco... you name it. And it’ll happen sooner than most people think.
Waymo did the heavy lifting. Its robotaxis are up and running in Phoenix, and now it can transfer that knowledge to dozens of other US cities.
By the end of 2021, I believe fully self-driving cars will be in at least 15 major US cities.
Chris: You mentioned there was another milestone that happened in December?
Stephen: Right, Amazon-owned Zoox unveiled its autonomous robotaxi on December 14. It’s a fully driverless vehicle built for ride hailing. Passengers face each other. It can’t be driven by a human—because there’s no steering wheel.
It can go up to 75 mph and can run up to 16 hours on a single charge. Take a look at this thing:
You can see how seamlessly it drives through the streets of San Francisco here.
These are incredible milestones. But most people didn’t hear about them with COVID and the election sucking all the air out of the room.
Again, the technology is here. It’s ready for “prime time.”
The only thing holding this massive disruption back is regulation.
Back to the COVID vaccines example. They are the first mRNA vaccines approved for use. But mRNA isn’t new—it’s been around for years. It’s just that the FDA regulated it to the point where it couldn’t be used.
I think the same is going to happen to self-driving cars this year.
Chris: Why now?
Stephen: Well, the need for them is greater than ever. A lot of people don’t want to get in a car with a stranger who may have been exposed to COVID…
They’d rather get in with a robot that can disinfect itself.
Chris: One thing that’s hard for the average Joe is letting a robot take full control of the car. Most people feel safer being in control...
Stephen: That’s a good point, but it’s backwards. Human error causes most car crashes.
A self-driving car can’t text and drive. It doesn’t drink and drive. It doesn’t get tired, bored, distracted, or outraged on the road like humans do.
Think about all the accidents this will prevent!
Chris: Yeah... I just got back from visiting my family for the holidays. It was a 15-hour drive each way… South Florida to Maryland and back.
Stephen: I bet you would have enjoyed a self-driving car…
Chris: Tell me about it. And in South Carolina, we drove by 5 different accidents in a 2-hour span. My wife and I looked at each other and agreed to take it slow the rest of the way home.
Stephen: Around 38,000 Americans die each year on the road. That’s over 100 a day. By 2050, it will likely be illegal for humans to drive cars. Or maybe you’ll only be able to drive them in special circumstances like weddings.
Chris: I just saw Uber sold its self-driving car division. Is this a red flag?
Stephen: I saw that too. And earlier this year Ford postponed its autonomous vehicle service until 2022.
This is all very normal—a “culling of the herd.” It’s a good thing that some competitors are dropping off. It means only the most dedicated companies with the best technologies are left.
Remember the tech washout in 2001? Only the strongest survived. Look at who was left standing. Google. Salesforce. Microsoft. Companies that went on to achieve amazing things… and become some of the best investments on the planet.
Point is, now is when you want to invest… NOT when it’s all over the front pages.
Chris: So how can readers profit?
Stephen: One of my greatest frustrations is that investors tend to get really excited about a tech trend in its early stages… only to find there aren’t many direct ways to profit. You can’t buy Waymo or Zoox, for example. You’d need to buy Google and Amazon, which own them. Obviously, those aren’t “pure plays” on the self-driving car trend.
But new, investable areas are now emerging in self-driving cars. For example, LIDAR is a cutting-edge technology which stands for “Light Detection and Ranging.” I’ve written about these sensors here.
In short, these tiny sensors that resemble a lawn sprinkler are affixed to the roof and front grill of the car. These sensors then send out roughly 160,000 pulses per second in all directions. These pulses can detect the smallest detail, like a leaf blowing in the wind.
Chris: Any specific stocks our readers can look into?
Stephen: There are three on my radar. The most intriguing LIDAR play right now is InterPrivate Acquisition Corp. (IPV). It’s a “SPAC” that’s buying a company called Aeva. Aeva makes 4D LIDAR sensors—and I believe it has the best technology. You can grab a piece of this company by buying the SPAC, ticker IPV.
Another is a Peter Thiel-backed company called Luminar Technologies (LAZR).
And the last is Velodyne Lidar (VLDR).
These are all new developments in the last year or so that weren’t available before. If you’re interested in buying them, keep your investment small for now. These are volatile, “unproven” stocks with intriguing technologies. Not companies you want to bet big on quite yet.
Do you agree with Stephen… or do you think we’re still years away before self-driving cars go mainstream? Share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Editor, RiskHedge