Justin's note: Technology expert and Silicon Valley insider Jeff Brown is one of our friends over at Bonner & Partners. He hears about the biggest tech trends – before they hit the mainstream media – and shares them with subscribers of his Near Future Report newsletter. He's also known for pinpointing the No. 1 performing stock in the S&P 500 in 2016… and again in 2018. Not many people can say they recommended the biggest winner in two separate calendar years.
In short, when Jeff is excited about a big story, I don't ignore it. I pass it along as soon as I can.
Today, Jeff shows us why self-driving cars are here to stay… and the piece of technology that will ultimately bring them to the masses. And as you'll see, it's not just for self-driving cars… this technology will soon become a crucial part of our everyday lives. Read on to learn why…
By Jeff Brown, editor, The Near Future Report
Last October, a modified Toyota Prius drove itself 3,099 miles – from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan.
There was a human in the driver's seat, but he didn't touch the steering wheel, gas, or brake pedals for the entire trip. The self-driving car drove itself the entire distance.
If any readers are curious about the trip, have a look at the time-lapse video of the entire coast-to-coast journey here.
This coast-to-coast, self-driving journey was the first of its kind. Yet it got little to no press.
But make no mistake, this is a remarkable achievement. This sort of trip wouldn't have been possible even just a few years ago.
Today, I want to share with you the technology that made it possible, and show why it's a trend that ought to be on every investor's radar…
I remember when I first sat in a self-driving car. It was October 2011, on NASA's Ames Research campus in Mountain View, California. The car was one of Google's earliest versions of its self-driving technology.
It wasn't pretty. The outside of the car was laden with large sensors, and the inside of the car was packed front to back with computing equipment. There was barely enough room for someone to sit in the driver's seat.
But only seven years later, the technology has progressed immensely.
The Prius I mentioned above that drove over 3,000 miles without human intervention was outfitted with only seven cameras. Six were positioned outside the car in order to provide a 360-degree view, and one was inside facing the driver.
Equally impressive was that the trip was made with only basic digital maps to work from. This is compared to the high-definition maps often used in self-driving vehicles, which are precise down to a few centimeters.
What was the technology that enabled the self-driving Prius to make its cross-country trip? After all, it looked just like any other car.
The answer is simple… Hidden in plain sight in the back of the car was a black box. It looked something like this.