4 “driverless” technologies to keep an eye on

Author: Sam Mitter

May 3, 2018

Autonomous driving has made headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, in part due to a tragic accident in the U.S., which recorded its first death caused by a vehicle intended to be fully self-driving. But as we noted in a recent insight paper, A Setback in the Move towards a Driverless World, there is still good reason to believe that driverless technology can provide significant benefits to society as it becomes more refined over time.

As such, we continue to keep a close eye on many of the innovations that will make self-driving cars possible, including vision, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), mapping and connectivity technologies.

1. Vision

Driver assistance systems that help prevent imminent accidents by processing visual information. This includes objects (pedestrian and vehicle) detection, lane detection, traffic sign recognition and high/low beam control.


A surveying method that measures distance to a target with pulsed laser light by recording the time between transmitted and backscattered pulses and by using the speed of light to calculate the distance traveled.

3. Mapping

Detailed high-definition maps that provide visual representations of immediate surroundings including the physical location of the pavements, buildings and trees; road signs and traffic lights; and how the self-driving car should behave, such as observing the speed limit.

4. Connectivity

Computing platforms that make sense of all of the sensor data and figures out the safest path in real time. This requires a “data recorder”, similar to a plane’s “black box”, that will record information for at least 30 seconds before a collision, necessitating a range of high speed memory and storage.


Although it may take years – if not decades – before driverless vehicles become ubiquitous, knowing about these technologies and the companies developing them can help position investors to benefit from this long-term secular trend down the road.



Commentaries contained herein are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of May 1, 2018 and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and the manager accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Investors are expected to obtain professional investment advice.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), Highstreet Asset Management Inc. (Highstreet), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Asset Management (Asia) Limited (AGF AM Asia) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA is a registered advisor in the U.S. AGFI and Highstreet are registered as portfolio managers across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. AGF AM Asia is registered as a portfolio manager in Singapore. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.

Written by

Sam Mitter, MBA

Associate Portfolio Manager

AGF Investments Inc.

Tony Genua

Senior Vice-President and Portfolio Manager

AGF Investments Inc.

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