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Smart Cars are a Smart Investment in an Emerging Market of $50 Billion
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Smart Cars are a Smart Investment in an Emerging Market of $50 Billion

First Tesla, now this. After the electric car, “smart car” seems to be the new buzzword as investors ar...

Smart Cars are a Smart Investment in an Emerging Market of $50 Billion

First Tesla, now this. After the electric car, “smart car” seems to be the new buzzword as investors are flocking to the next big thing in the automotive industry. The interesting part is that instead of automakers, it’s the tech giants that are leading this revolution.

 

Google and chipmaker Infineon are among the first companies to develop and test intelligent cars, ranging from self-driving automobiles to app-controlled driving. Traditional automakers are jumping on the bandwagon, with Toyota, Audi, and Nissan in quick pursuit.

 

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"It's a whole new market emerging. The best way to play it for investors in the long term is to buy names such as Microsoft or chip makers such as Infineon, not (automakers) Peugeot and Renault," says Christian Jimenez, president of Diamant Bleu Gestion and fund manager.

 

French bank Exane BNP Paribas predicts that the market is set to reach the $50 billion mark soon. This forecast is still some years away, as are the smart cars themselves. Still, Google’s boasting that the first cars equipped with Android Auto-- a voice-controlled driving, messaging, and navigation system-- will be in showrooms by the end of the year.

 

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And Google’s not the only mogul in play. Apple’s CarPlay, an iPhone integration feature that allows apps to be used via the dashboard to navigate, make calls, and send messages, is also set to launch by year’s end.

 

British consulting firm Machina Research has some hopeful predictions. Although only 10 per cent of cars are currently connected, they say the number will jump to 90 per cent by 2020.

 

"This is not a distant dream, but a five-year race where there is money to be made, or lost," Exane BNP analyst Stuart Pearson said. According to them, the market is set to grow by a steady 30 per cent per year.

 

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