Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Nvidia: Does the Whole Self-Driving Timeline Have to Be Reassessed? (NVDA)

The headline is a bit over-dramatic but the issues are real.
Additionally there are a half-dozen pup chip companies that are looking to take on the big dog in AI. More on that later this week.
The stock closed down $18.96 (7.76%) at $225.52.

From Barron's:
Nvidia shares dropped by as much as 10% Tuesday after it said it would suspend self-driving car testing on the road in the wake of last week's facility incurred by a self-driving Uber car. Analysts ponder how seriously the move will affect Nvidia's self-driving car tech ambitions.
Shares of Nvidia (NVDA) ended the day down $18.96, or almost 8%, at $2,225.52, [sic] and at one point fell as low as $219.85, a 10% drop, after the company said it would suspend its test of self-driving car technology, casting a pall over what was supposed to be the focus of the day, the company’s "GTC 2018” conference in California, and the accompanying analyst day meeting.

The question is whether the whole timeline for how fast autonomous vehicles will be entering the mainstream, something Nvidia has talked about extensively, will have to be re-assessed as a result of the suspension.

Among today’s announcements were a new chip for workstations, the “GV100,” which Nvidia boasts will bring “real-time ray tracing” to “millions of artists and designers.” It also unveiled enhancements to its “Tesla V100” chips for things such as "deepmachine learning."

But the company’s discussion of simulation by computer of autonomous driving—testing inside a computer rather than on the road—seemed to put a fine point on the suddenly glum attitude around self-driving cars.

Among responses this afternoon, Mitch Steves of RBC Capital, who has an Outperform rating on the stock, writes that he liked the GV100 announcement, but "the keynote is being overshadowed by automotive concerns at this time."

He wonders if the "timeline will be pushed out” for what Nvidia had said would be a 2020 time frame for a lot of self-driving products on the market.

“The pause will likely cause a reassessment of timelines,” writes Steves.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s William Stein reiterates a Buy on the stock, urging investors to “buy the weakness."

He sees no hit to Nvidia’s auto business right now, because self-driving chips aren’t yet a big part of auto revenue for the company:...MORE