3 Self-Driving Stocks That Can Take the Wheel From Tesla

Stocks to buy

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) might remain on top of the electric vehicle market, but it’s rapidly losing ground regarding self-driving stocks. In a Thanksgiving surprise for Tesla bulls, a judge ruled that Tesla’s executive team likely knew key deficiencies within the autopilot system that led to a 2019 death. How the legal battle shakes out from here is anyone’s guess, but one thing is clear: Tesla isn’t the undisputed leader of self-driving stocks. 

The gap Tesla left is now a handful of self-driving stocks racing to the finish line in an attempt to become the go-to consumer name in autonomous driving. Though many are competing, only a handful will come out on top—and these three self-driving stocks have what it takes to reach the winner’s circle. 

Luminar Technologies (LAZR)

Luminar (LAZR stock) sign with greenery around it

Source: JHVEPhoto/shutterstock.com

Luminar Technologies (NASDAQ:LAZR) stands to gain from the self-driving race no matter who wins. The company produces a range of “light detection and ranging sensors,” also known as lidar. High-tech lidar helps the controller (in this case, the autonomous car) determine distance from objects by bouncing a laser from the vehicle to objects and measuring how long it takes to return. Luminar’s lidar sensors effectively coat self-driving cars. This gives the autonomous control system an accurate, 3D view of where the car stands in relation to its surroundings.

Since safety is paramount to self-driving stocks. Luminar’s leading lidar tech positions it as the go-to stock for autonomous vehicle manufacturers. Luminar’s customers include Volvo (OTCMKTS:VLVLY) and Mercedes Benz (OTCMKTS:MBGYY). As lidar tech becomes more crucial to everyday vehicle use, it’ll serve as a testing ground for their use in self-driving cars—and sending Luminar Technologies stock racing. 

If that wasn’t enough, Luminar is also at the forefront of flying cars. The company’s partnership with Airbus (OTCMKTS:EADSY) seeks to “directly re-apply what we’ve accomplished for the automotive industry into aviation,” according to LAZR CEO Austin Russell. 

Amazon (AMZN)

Amazon (AMZN) logo on a corporate building

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is a relative upstart in the self-driving car industry. But, with its sheer size and scope, anything Amazon throws itself into will likely meet long-term success. And the online retail giant is embracing self-driving cars wholeheartedly. 

The company’s self-driving car division, called Zoox, is rapidly growing its employee base despite widespread cost-cutting. The company increased its headcount by 16% a few months ago, and the division hasn’t been subject to the job cuts seen elsewhere within the Amazon enterprise. Amazon’s management sees more potential in putting cash toward Zoox than in other divisions like Alexa.

The company is unique in that, rather than expansive testing routes requiring space and infrastructure to assess vehicle progress safely, Zoox uses advanced simulators to validate progress. This move increases ultimate safety, as the vehicle control systems undergo thousands of hours of testing before hitting open roads. 

In some key markets, like Las Vegas, Zoox’s self-driving cars have been sufficiently proven safe and actively drive in real-world circumstances. 

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

Sign of AMD office in Markham, Ontario, Canada. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. is an American multinational semiconductor company.

Source: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) has its own automotive division. Unlike Amazon, though, AMD produces chips to power the brains behind self-driving control systems. What’s more, AMD’s advanced tech can increasingly handle the vast computing power artificial intelligence (AI) systems demand. As AI integrates within self-driving cars, AMD stands to gain as processing power (the more the better) meets mechanism size (the smaller the better).

A few months ago, Japanese company Hitachi Astemo picked AMD to power its adaptive camera and braking systems in an important first step toward autonomous driving. Previously, AMD’s tech was largely confined to in-vehicle entertainment systems and the like. But this integration makes AMD one of the biggest winners among self-driving stocks. If you feel like you missed the boat with Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) capturing market share with generative AI, there’s still time to jump on the autonomous vehicle bandwagon with AMD.

On the date of publication, Jeremy Flint held no positions in the securities mentioned. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Jeremy Flint, an MBA graduate and skilled finance writer, excels in content strategy for wealth managers and investment funds. Passionate about simplifying complex market concepts, he focuses on fixed-income investing, alternative investments, economic analysis, and the oil, gas, and utilities sectors. Jeremy’s work can also be found at www.jeremyflint.work.

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