Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will generate a lot of headlines this week.
That's because the company unveiled the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X during an event yesterday at the new Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Silicon Valley campus. The company is hoping that its new devices will help it reverse six straight quarters of sales declines in China.
That's big news – for Apple and its shareholders… for iPhone suppliers and their shareholders… for Apple's competitors and their shareholders… and for the "tech news industrial complex" that depends on Apple for clicks and page views.
But there was another announcement yesterday that I think is a much bigger deal. And for reasons I can't comprehend, not many folks are talking about it.
You see, this big announcement won't affect just companies and their shareholders – its ramifications could change how we all live and work in the very near future.
Today I'll tell you about that announcement.
And I'll also show you the best way to profit from it for years – decades – to come.
This investment has already gained 6.6% since we last chatted about it back in June. By contrast, the S&P 500 has gained a modest 1.1%.
That means you're already beating the market by 500% with this one.
But now – above and beyond today's announcement – I've spotted another $300 million new catalyst that tells me this tech winner is just getting started.
Now, let's get started ourselves…
Live… from Michigan
This is Washington's second try on this. However, the auto and tech industries hated the Obama administration's heavy-handed, regulation-filled attempt last September.
I expect Chao's guidelines to be much less burdensome – and so do most other industry observers.
Plus, Chao has some backup – from Congress.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure that would make it easier to find uses for autonomous vehicles.
Already, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) forecasts 12 million fully autonomous vehicles leaving factories each year by 2035, with an even larger figure of partially autonomous vehicles doing the same. In dollar terms, we're talking about a $42 billion market by 2025… and $77 billion by 2035. And according to ResearchandMarkets, the number of new driverless cars registered each year will grow from about 200,000 in 2020 to 24 million in 2030. By the end of 2030, there could be 71 million driverless cars in service around the world.
That's the future.
But driverless vehicles are making a big impact right now.
Let me show you what I mean – by discussing that $300 million new catalyst I mentioned before…
Yes, That John Deere
I understand why many investors think of Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) as old school.
The world-famous tractor firm got its start way back in 1837 when founder John Deere developed a rudimentary plow from a broken saw blade.
Today, the global leader makes all manner of heavy equipment used in agriculture, construction, landscaping, and even defense.
And yet, Deere has become a cutting-edge tech leader.
And a driverless vehicle leader.
In fact, it's spent the past 20 years developing truly autonomous tractors. We're not just talking about GPS-based steering. Deere's S700 combine, for example, automatically adjusts its harvesting equipment based on the condition of the crop it sees.
Last week, Deere moved deeper into advanced tech with a $300 million buyout of Blue River Technology. Deere aims to deploy Blue River's artificial intelligence technology to automatically identify weeds and then spray them with a dose of herbicide. That means farmers can now save money by spraying only those crops that need it and by delivering the correct amount.
Blue River's other advanced systems include a device that trims lettuce in the field and software with which drones analyze crops.
All of this should help Deere remain at the forefront of what's known as precision agriculture.
In fact, automation – including autonomous tech – is sweeping the agribusiness sector.
Predictive algorithms help crop-yield monitors supply detailed information about production data right at the harvest. Sensors and soil-sampling devices gather data on soil moisture and nutrient levels.
And a range of mobile apps and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) help assess crop health and monitor pest and disease conditions during the season.
More efficient farming is bringing a clear payoff for consumers. After steadily rising earlier in this decade, food price inflation has simply disappeared over the past two years, according to the St. Louis Fed.
More to the point, AI, robotics, and driverless technology are extending well beyond the farm to impact virtually the entire world around us.
From Silicon Valley and Detroit to e-commerce and petrochemicals to facial recognition and biotech, we're seeing massive investments in AI-powered robotics systems.
And many firms beyond Deere are using M&A as a path to enhance automation. CB Insights says that buyouts of AI firms have soared from $559 million in 2012 to a recent $4.87 billion, a roughly eightfold increase.
And that flurry of deal-making is taking place ahead of a big spike in AI and robotics deployments. Grand View Research sees spending on such systems rising at a 57% yearly clip through 2025, by which time we'll be talking about a $58.9 billion market.
How to Play the Trend
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.