The stock market sell-off has been brutal and indiscriminate this year, with almost no industry spared the pain. But the technology sector is being particularly hard hit after being one of the best places to invest throughout the pandemic.
That means, in some cases, there are high-quality opportunities available at a discount. Nvidia (NVDA -0.71%) is one of the top semiconductor companies in the world, and it's rapidly evolving into a leading platform computing powerhouse thanks to its investments in advanced software tools.
Its stock price has fallen 58% from its all-time high, and while there are several reasons to own it, here's one that is sometimes overlooked.
Driving autonomous vehicles
Nvidia is best known for its world-leading graphics chips, which are used most commonly in gaming and data center applications. These two segments accounted for 88% of the company's revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2023 (ended May 1).
But Nvidia's smallest segment -- automotive and robotics -- is arguably the most exciting. It's a tiny piece of the company's overall business, making up just 1.8% of its total revenue over the last 12 months, but that has real potential to change.
The segment is led by the Nvidia DRIVE platform, which is an end-to-end solution for car manufacturers who want to build autonomous (self-driving) vehicles. Not only does Nvidia provide the hardware, but it also delivers the software, which includes highly advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to help train autonomous models.
Nvidia DRIVE Sim leverages the company's Omniverse platform, a 3D rendering tool that allows developers to create accurate real-life scenarios in a virtual environment to produce physically accurate simulations. Omniverse is used by some of the world's largest companies to create digital twins of their physical assets with accuracy to the millimeter, so it's the perfect platform with which to map roads for self-driving applications.
It's an explosive financial opportunity
While Nvidia's automotive and robotics segment has generated only $550 million in revenue over the last 12 months, it has a sales pipeline of $11 billion. This is expected to convert to revenue over the next six years, but the ramp-up could be swift once manufacturers begin rolling out the technology.
Mercedes-Benz (MBGY.Y -0.12%) will be among the first automakers to sell autonomous vehicles built using Nvidia DRIVE. It expects to begin deliveries in 2024, and it's one of 35 brands adopting the platform. Others include electric vehicle companies Lucid Group (LCID -2.80%) and Nio (NIO -1.59%) in addition to Tata Motors' (TTM) Jaguar and Land Rover.
Between now and 2030, the market for autonomous vehicles is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 40%, which takes Nvidia's opportunity to over $2.1 trillion annually by that time. Therefore, despite the automotive segment being Nvidia's smallest right now, that could change very quickly in the next few years.
But investors don't have to wait to buy Nvidia stock, because analysts expect the company will deliver $33.7 billion in total revenue during fiscal 2023 on the back of its leading gaming and data center segments. Nvidia is a fast-growing, highly profitable opportunity, and once its automotive segment ramps up further, it could deliver significant rewards to patient investors who stuck with it.