Autonomous driving headlines can often be slightly… wrong.

Not to bang on incessantly about autonomous driving, but this op ed written by David Ficking and featured on Bloomberg ( https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-09-24/hyundai-aptiv-s-jv-doesn-t-put-a-driverless-future-any-closer) highlights that fact that headlines in this space can often be misleading. The piece shows us that a big automotive name (in this case Hyundai) making a purchase of a big name autonomous driving car company (in this case Aptiv) for billions of dollars (in this case $2B in cash and services) is something that would otherwise underline just how close we are to fully autonomous driving. Not so fast…

The op ed piece details that the amount spent by Hyundai on this deal is actually a drop in the bucket for them (as crazy as that may sound) with the company actually sitting on cash reserves several times the amount spent. Why not spend it on something other than bonds which currently yield such a low return? In the case of Aptiv, reading between the lines of this deal shows us that the company is very happy to sell off this very small part of the business to focus on its core money maker(s), namely cable harnesses for a car’s wiring system, and ongoing development of existing technologies, namely sensors and collision avoidance systems.

As I have always proclaimed, no one will be more excited to be nursing a gin and tonic in the back seat while a computer does the driving for me. That just sounds positively dreamy. But I think it’s time to stir from our drunken stupors and acknowledge that fully autonomous driving is still a very, very long time away…

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