2019 SAE President Paul Mascarenas (left) interviews Wall St. analyst and TV host Charles Payne on Tuesday, April 9, at SAE’s WCX’19 at Detroit’s Cobo Hall. (Brooke)

WCX 2019: The AV “Money Race” is on

Financial expert kicks off SAE’s WCX ’19 with bullish forecast of Automated Vehicle market.

Automated-and-connected vehicles may be on a longer adoption path than the hype around them suggests, but AVs and their related technologies will eventually become a multi-trillion-dollar market, asserted Charles Payne, keynote speaker at SAE’s WCX’19.

“The Wall St. ‘money race’ is on,” asserted the bullish Payne, a former E.F. Hutton analyst and host of the “Making Money with Charles Payne” TV show. He said the burgeoning mobility sector “is an extraordinary industry that has Wall St.’s attention now,” citing valuation projections up to $7 trillion in the next three decades.

“The challenge,” he noted, “is to get Main St.’s attention,” given the public’s early fears of self-driving vehicles, and the social disruption expected to come from automation and robotics. He noted a recent report from Bain Capital that forecasts 40 million displaced workers due to automation by 2030.

Payne was interviewed on stage by 2019 SAE President Paul Mascarenas following his keynote address. While he considers himself to be “a born Luddite” regarding new technologies, he confidently stated that “history tells us that there is always a net benefit in terms of jobs” when a new technology disrupts the status quo.

Payne provided an interesting history of technology innovation and adoption, likening the current crop of tech start-ups related to electrified and self-driving vehicles to the first decade of the 20th century, when new automakers and suppliers emerged by the hundreds, and steam, electric and gasoline cars vied for preeminence. The counterbalance for AVs is the reduction in traffic fatalities they are expected to bring—over 580,000 lives saved during the first decade of adoption, Payne said.

Payne described the related Mobility as a Service (MaaS) sector as “like the Wild West” today, with big profit potential as the sector shakes out. He predicts a $150 billion valuation for Uber in the first week after the company goes public, expected later this year.

In terms of global progress in AV acceptance and adoption, the U.S. “is being a bit flat-footed” and he advocates a “bigger thrust on the Federal level” for this sector.

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