Delphi Automotive (DLPH) wasn't on the radar of investors looking for an automotive investment until recently. That's not because anything was wrong with Delphi's business as a parts supplier, but when it divested its powertrain division and made clear its intentions to focus on developing technology for driverless vehicles, investors took notice. After all, driverless vehicles are the future, and there aren't very many pure plays to capitalize on the long-term development. The good news is that Delphi's current business is strong and its second quarter proves that -- here are the details and highlights.

Music to investors' ears

Delphi's second-quarter revenue moved 3% higher to $4.3 billion; the growth was 5% when adjusted for currency exchange, commodity movements, acquisitions, and divestitures. That managed to top analysts' estimates calling for $4.2 billion, and that better-than-expected result filtered down to the bottom line. The company's earnings from continuing operations checked in with a 13% increase to $1.71 per share year over year, excluding special items, which and was well above last year's $1.59 per share.

The dashboard of a driverless vehicle, including a touchscreen

Image source: Delphi Automotive.

And then Delphi's CEO, Kevin Clark, said something investors always love to hear: "Delphi delivered another strong quarter driven by our portfolio of relevant technologies. Based on our strong first half performance, we are raising our sales and earnings outlook for the year. We continue to execute as planned on the announced spin-off of our Powertrain segment and remain committed to providing value to our customers and creating value for our shareholders."

More specifically, Delphi now predicts its full-year revenue to check in between $16.85 billion and $17.05 billion, up from its previous guidance calling for $16.50 billion to $16.90 billion. It raised bottom-line guidance also, and expects its full-year adjusted earnings to check in between $6.55 and $6.75 per share, up from its previous guidance of $6.40 to $6.70 per share.

Shareholder value and the future

Delphi also returned value to shareholders through its share repurchase program, which took off the market 1.09 million shares for roughly $95 million, leaving a little over $1 billion available under the existing share repurchase program. Year to date, the company has repurchased 3.65 million shares for roughly $288 million.

But the major story with Delphi this year isn't its strong first half, it's the company's future strategy. As you can see in the graphic below, the parts supplier has been on the path to divesting lower-margin businesses and positioning itself to be a leader in higher-margin electronics and safety products, with an increased focus on an autonomous-vehicle future.

Graphic showing a list of company divestitures

Image source: Delphi Automotive's May 3, 2017, Q1 presentation.

Furthermore, Delphi is partnering with BMW and Intel -- which recently agreed to acquire Mobileye NV -- to develop a driverless-vehicle platform so its systems can reach multiple automakers.

"There will be a consolidation of platforms, and there's most likely to be a small number of platforms remaining that will for a longer time determine the market," said Richard Rau, a BMW director of product development, back in May, according to Bloomberg. "That's why we believe it's so important to not just build now an exclusive BMW solution, but really start to process opening this approach to as many OEMs as care to join."

As the automotive industry plateaus, Delphi has positioned itself to capitalize on what will be a lucrative megatrend, as autonomous technology development and demand will absolutely forge ahead regardless of peak sales -- and in the meantime, the first half of 2017 shows that the company's business is already solid.