Will Self-Driving Trucks Push Nvidia's Stock Into Maximum Overdrive?

Chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) on Thursday grabbed tech headlines with the announcement that not only will it be venturing further into the autonomous car space, but that it is also developing driverless trucks. Cue the AC/DC--this is straight out of the Stephen King's 1986 film Maximum Overdrive.

Nvidia is teaming up with Paccar (PCAR) , an American truck maker that manufactures Peterbilt, DAF and Kenworth big rigs. According to a blog post from Nvidia, the partnership has developed a proof-of-concept autonomous truck.

The applications for the transportation industry are huge--by 2035, as much as 15% of all trucks sold are expected to be self-driving. And unless the Trump administration makes alterations, the U.S. Transportation Department is committed to fostering autonomous vehicle research--including trucking--with a "10-year, $4 billion investment." The hope is that highways populated with autonomous vehicles will simply be safer.

Nividia is also hoping to cash in on other self-driving vehicle technologies. On Wednesday, the company announced that it is partnering with automotive supplier Bosch (BSWQY) to make a computer system for mass-market autonomous cars.

But Nvidia also has a slew of other partnerships in place, including those with Tesla (TSLA) , Audi (AUDVF) and Daimler (DDAIF) .

But the autonomous vehicle market is already getting flooded with competition--along with Nvidia, tech companies such as Intel (INTC) (which has agreed to purchase Mobileye (MBLY) ), Alphabet (GOOGL) and others are aiming for market shares in the space.

But that's not the only reason why investors shouldn't go running into Nvidia just yet. The company shot up an amazing 530% during the past five years--and now it's coming down off its high. Year to date, it's down nearly 4% after an incredible 2016, during which shares shot up by more than 220%.

While there's a lot to recommend this stock--its video gaming chip segment is healthy--many analysts have been commenting for a while that it's been overpriced. While these self-driving vehicle technologies are appealing, the profits they'll yield are still far away in the future. Don't go expecting overnight gains here.

Nvidia is a good long-term play ... but not at today's price. In all likelihood, it could fall further as it comes off its ludicrous highs.

However, on a big price dip, investors willing to stick it out for the long term should grab shares at a sensible price and then wait it out at the Dixie Boy truck stop. Hopefully it won't be as big a flop as King's only directorial attempt.

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John Persinos is an analyst with Investing Daily. At the time of publication, he owned none of the stocks mentioned.

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