Apple Car - The Road to Autonomy

The Road to Autonomy Index Outperforms S&P 500, Deere to Join S&P 100, Apple Patents Reveal Self-Driving Car Plans

This Week In The Road to Autonomy Index — For the week of August 28, 2023, The Road to Autonomy Index returned 2.58%, while the S&P 500 returned 1.89%. The Road to Autonomy Index outperformed the S&P 500 by 0.69%.

The top performing stocks in The Road to Autonomy Index this week were Micron which returned 10.47%, Deere which returned 7.35% and Aptiv which returned 7.05%.

On this episode, Grayson Brulte discusses Deere being added to the S&P 100 on Monday, September 18th and their strategic approach to autonomy. Apple’s recent self-driving car patents and Tesla’s FSD price cut.

Over the last five years, Deere has acquired Blue River Technology and Bear Flag Robotics to further enhance their technology stack. These acquisitions will allow Deere to further accelerate the growth of their services business. In the future we believe that Deere will operate a high-growth services business inside of the company where farmers will be able to subscribe to autonomous tractors and complementary services. 

Apple, a The Road to Autonomy Index component company reported record services revenue of $21.2 billion for the 3rd quarter of 2023 (FY). Today, Apple currently has over 1 billion paid subscriptions with services strength coming from emerging markets. Roughly a 4th of Apple’s $81.8 billion in Q3 2023 revenue was generated from services.

Services is a business that we expect Apple to grow over the next decade and accelerate when they introduce the Apple Car. Apple is actively working on the Apple Car and this week the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted Apple two patents related to the Apple Car — Retractable Input Devices and In-Vehicle Video System.

The Retractable Input Devices patent details how the vehicle’s steering wheel and pedals could become retracted and flushed with interior surface when the vehicle goes into autonomous mode. In theory, when this happens, the driver would become a passenger and would no longer be responsible for the actions of the vehicle enabling them to engage with immersive content.

Immersive content is a theme as the In-Vehicle Video System patent details how Apple envisions the windows and the surfaces of the vehicle displaying immersive content, using a variety of sensors to collect information about the vehicle’s environment including its location to display content. These patents offer us a glimpse into the company’s plans for its self-driving car project.

Another company with plans for an autonomous vehicle is Tesla, a The Road to Autonomy Index component company lowered the price of their Full Self-Driving Software more commonly known as FSD by 20% to $12,000 in North America this week. Will the 20% price cut of FSD increase the take rate for FSD? It’s something to watch.

Today, a Tesla Model 3 Performance with FSD and 315 mile range costs $65,240, or roughly $803 a month with a $4,500 down payment. For $800 a month, consumers will have a lot of choices in terms of vehicles that they can lease.

A Polestar 2 Long range Dual motor with Drive Pilot, Polestar’s version of SAE Level 2 hands-free highway driving and 276 miles of range costs $54,300, or roughly $485 a month with a $4,500 down payment. When compared to the Tesla Model 3 Performance with FSD, that is a savings of $318 a month or $11,448 over course of a 3 year lease. The difference in cost of the 3 year lease — FSD.

What is becoming very clear is that the market for personally owned autonomous vehicles is beginning to emerge. As this market emerges it will further strengthen the growing autonomy economy. Autonomy is good for the economy, autonomous vehicles and autonomous trucks will help to usher in The Autonomy Economy.

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The Road to Autonomy Index®

The Road to Autonomy Index is an autonomous vehicle index comprised of 38 publicly-traded companies. The Index is a rules-based equity benchmark index that is calculated by Standard and Poor’s Dow Jones Indices. The Index measures the performance of a basket of global companies that are involved in the development and commercialization of autonomous driving technologies.

Included in the Index are companies that are developing autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars), autonomous trucks and off-road specialty vehicles. As well as transportation, technology, industrial and services companies that have identified autonomy as a key component of their growth strategies. 

Inclusion of a security within The Road to Autonomy Index® is not a recommendation by The Road to Autonomy Indices LLC to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.