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FT: Investors Seeking Self-Driving Riches May Just Run Over Own Feet

FT: Investors Seeking Self-Driving Riches May Just Run Over Own Feet
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By    |   Friday, 26 May 2017 12:44 PM

Some investors reportedly stand to “get their fingers burnt” in the scramble to chase the latest hot investment fad of self-driving technology.

After all, remember what eventually happened with investors chasing early internet stocks once the dot-com bubble finally crashed to earth.

The “current enthusiasm in Silicon Valley for start-ups linked to self-driving car technology is being called a new California gold rush. But the flood of investment feels more like 1999 than 1849,” the Financial Times warns.

“Self-driving car technology clearly has the potential to be revolutionary, and some start-up founders have already hit the jackpot,” the FT explained.

“Some of the deals are reminiscent of the dotcom era when both retail and professional investors were throwing money at anything that promised to use the internet — remember Webvan, Pets.com and eToys? Then, too, big existing companies felt pressure to get into hot new sectors,” the FT reported, citing Time Warner’s “ill-fated” merger with AOL.

“Investors might do better by taking a hard look at the far more practical achievements involving electric vehicles. Analysts at UBS predict the cost of owning an electric car in Europe will draw equal to that of a petrol or diesel vehicle as early as next year,” the FT reported.

Not only should investors be wary of self-driving technology, it apparently seems that even those not dabbling in the market are thinking twice of autos without human drivers.

A recent AAA poll found about three-fourths of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving car but that most want some autonomous technologies in their next vehicle.

The poll’s findings showed 78 percent of those surveyed were fearful about using self-driving technology, about the same margin professing that fear in last year’s survey, according to USA Today.

But while most were fearful of riding in a fully self-driving car, a majority of 59 percent said they did want autonomous technologies in the next car they purchased.

“U.S. drivers may experience the driver assistance technologies in their cars today and feel they don’t work consistently enough to replace a human driver — and they’re correct,” AAA director of Automative Engineering and Industry Relations Greg Brannon said in a statement, Motortrend reported.

“While these technologies will continue to improve over time, it’s important that consumers understand that today’s systems require your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”

To be sure, Newsmax Finance Insider Lauren Fix urged that self-driving technology hit the brakes before veering into the fastlane of American public life.

"I went for a ride at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) in a connected, autonomous concept vehicle and it seems that despite all the hype and 'things are going well' line being fed to us at all levels there are still some serious bugs that need fixing and issues that need to be solved before we roll out Level 5 autonomous vehicles and proclaim victory," Fix wrote in a blog earlier this year.

"I am being honest and calling the situation for what it is—not quite there yet." 

(Newsmax wires services contributed to this report).

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Some investors reportedly stand to "get their fingers burnt" in the scramble to chase the latest hot investment fad of self-driving technology.
Investors, Self, Driving, Dot, Com, Bubble, Investments
Friday, 26 May 2017 12:44 PM
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