By Steve Costello

NGP places long-term bet on autonomous vehicles

Paul Asel, managing partner at NGP Capital, predicted full scale adoption of autonomous vehicles will take “decades, not years”, though a trend of over-estimating the short term technology impact and underestimating long term potential will continue.

However, Asel said the investment firm, which was founded in 2005 as Nokia Growth Partners, is “betting on the long term, with a focus on short-term applications to bridge the gap”.

According to Asel, automotive autonomy adoption is likely to start in a handful of key applications, such as long-haul trucking, and off-road implementations such as car parks and campuses. NGP Capital is an investor in Peloton, a company working on “platooning” for trucks, where vehicle-to-vehicle communication is used to connect braking and acceleration when travelling to together.

Autonomous vehicle adoption is also likely to start first outside of the US, with Israel, Japan, Europe and China identified as key markets, he added.

Asel tipped cloud, 5G, AI and IoT as key enabling technologies for autonomous vehicles. In particular, he noted “mobile operators offering 5G networks will be able to provide the very high levels of data required to fully enable autonomous vehicles to thrive”.

Paul Asel is speaking in the Autonomous Vehicles session today at 11:00.