(Tech stock columnist Jon D. Markman publishes Strategic Advantage, a lively, lucrative guide to investing in the digital transformation of business and society. Click here for a free trial.)
Tesla ( (TSLA) - Get Report) makes the world’s most advanced automated driving software and it is finally available for wider release. Despite what you might read, this is going to be a big driver for shares.
It didn’t take long for the naysayers in the media to pan Tesla’s Full Self Driving software. The principle criticism is FSD does not meet the technical standard for automated driving. Critics miss the point completely.
Their pessimism is creating a buying opportunity in Tesla shares.
To be clear, FSD does not elevate vehicles to robots. You can’t use your iPhone to summon a driverless Model 3 to pick you up at the gym. And you can’t watch movies in the back seat while the vehicle plays chauffer. That’s not the point.
However, a Tesla equipped with FSD can navigate streets, using cameras and software to watch for bicyclists, traffic lights, road obstructions and other motorists doing silly things. It can speed up, merge into traffic and make complicated turns. For the average driver this is going to be mind-blowing. No other car on the road is remotely as advanced.
Now FSD is rolling out to thousands of Tesla owners who prepaid for the service. Others will be able to subscribe for $199 per month. And as the software moves from YouTube tutorials to neighborhoods all over the country the buzz will build to a roar.
The naysayers will continue to quibble about technical definitions, or Tesla owners being used as test pilots for beta software. Ignore their messages. Focus on the narrative that will surely drive share prices.
Tesla makes the most advanced vehicle software in the world. Now the entire world will know.