With decades of experience working and living in the heart of Silicon Valley, Jeff has the inside track on the biggest tech trends before they hit the front pages. He's also the man who pinpointed the best-performing S&P 500 stock of both 2016 and 2018. So when Jeff unearths a big story like today's, we share it with you right away.
Below, Jeff shows us why self-driving cars are no longer just the realm of science fiction… and reveals the piece of technology that will rewrite our world the way the internet did decades ago…
By Jeff Brown, editor, Exponential Tech Investor
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 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…
The Black Box
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 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.