Zero traffic fatalities. That’s the vision for the future of mobility. The self-steering car is on its way, a place where drivers can take their hands off the wheel and work or do something else en route to their destination.
The transport industry is working at top speed in this field. Safety is becoming increasingly important, and whole new markets with new players are emerging.
Plans for car safety include equipping the car body with sensors and cameras so that the driver is warned about dangerous situations, or software even takes over control of the car from time to time.
That smells like an economy-resistant business. Growing government safety regulations for manufacturers could push the trend. The airbag was yesterday, proactive safety is what’s going to be hot tomorrow.
Networked mobility means more danger as well as more safety, but there is no doubt that from the stock market's point of view an exciting investment field is opening up.
Some investment firms are already looking into this. Credit Suisse, for example, is considering specialized funds for listed companies that could profit from this as suppliers. Safety service provider Autoliv is just one of the companies they are looking at.
The ideal of perfect auto safety does have a negative side. A networked car leaves behind a broad data trail about the driver: how fast and how well he drives, which routes he prefers, what music he listens to, perhaps even how high his blood pressure is. This is about considerably more than just the physical safety of the person in the car.
This field will therefore include safeguards against electronic threats from outside. Communication systems must be protected from hackers, personal data has to be shielded from access by unauthorized persons. Anti-virus systems, network protections or firewalls play a role here. Credit Suisse is researching possible beneficiaries – for example, the firewall producers Fortinet.
These topics will continually become more important. But many speculators still underestimate them. Every now and then, there is a brief outcry – for example, when the Korean TV-manufacturer Samsung most recently warned that its built-in voice control could also function in the other direction, that the device could also listen in.
Networked mobility means more danger as well as more safety, but there is no doubt that, from the stock market’s point of view, an exciting investment field is opening up.
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