Self-Driving Car Industry Could Reach $50 Billion in Next Decade

Jul 02, 2014 05:06 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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The journey to self-driving cars is becoming a race as investors look to get a piece of the growing connected vehicle industry, which is estimated to be worth $50 billion in the next 10 years.

Tech giants such as Google are getting involved along with automakers, but tech and telecom firms may get the biggest benefits as self-driving cars come to the market, Reuters reported.

"It's a whole new market emerging," said Christian Jimenez, fund manager and president of Diamant Bleu Gestion, as quoted by Reuters.

"The best way to play it for investors in the long term is to buy names such as Microsoft or chip makers such as Infineon, not (automakers) Peugeot and Renault."

The auto industry has been working to implement autonomous technology gradually through features like park assist, while Google has been developing its self-driving offering in the hopes of debuting a car that completely drives itself.

While just 10 percent of vehicles on the market have built-in connectivity, British consulting firm Machina Research predicts that the figure will rise to 90 percent by 2020, Reuters reported.

"The autonomous car is not science fiction, it's real and it's happening now. The technology is ready, it's just a question of regulation at this point," said Philippe Obry, head of research and development at AKKA technologies, a French engineering firm that has been developing an electric self-driving vehicle prototype.

AKKA's stock has been boosted almost six-fold since 2009 as investors look to cash in on self-driving cars.

"The idea is not to upgrade existing cars with new technologies, it's to rethink the whole sector and the way people will use cars in the future...We're not a carmaker, so it's been easier for us to think outside the box," said Obry, as quoted by Reuters.

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