In November 2016 Samsung, the Korean electronics corporation, pulled off its most important acquisition over Harman, the market leader in auto-related technologies, an operation that immediately brought the company in the spotlight of automotive sector. A rather lively sector, especially in relation to connected and driverless cars.
This was not the first investment in the automotive industry: the previous investments included AImotive and Renovo for driverless cars, Quanenergyper for LiDAR system (Laser Obstacle and Surface Observation Cameras), and Graphcore, which produces a highly performing artificial intelligence system.
From the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Korean company has announced the creation of a business unit for the development of advanced car services and has financed $ 300 million technology and automotive startup through the creation of the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund, which will focus on car technologies, intelligent sensors, artificial intelligence, security and privacy. The first strategic investment of the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will be in TTTech, a company specialized in functional safety, deterministic networking, real-time systems and the integration of complex software for driving platforms
” It’s time to officially announce our intention to enter the market for driverless cars: Samsung has incubated this business for quite a while “, emphasized the president and CEO of Samsung, Young Sohn and is now going to enter this sector with the goal of being on the market by 2020.
This is followed by the incorporation by Harman, acquired by Samsung earlier this year, of a new business unit that will work with the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center Smart Machines team to develop new technologies for safer, smarter and connected vehicles. The new division will involve John Absmeier, current vice president of Smart Machines in Samsung as senior vice president, and will absorb thousands of Samsung engineers who have already worked on driverless technologies.
“The new division and the fund reflect the company’s commitment to open innovation and collaboration” Sohn said – “In collaboration with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and startup, we will make driving and passenger experience safer, more comfortable and enjoyable”.
The chairman then specified that Samsung, unlike Google (and probably Apple), is not going to produce its own driverless cars, indeed it is a technology partner for the major car makers already on the market.
The South Korean company joins the list of more than 40 companies authorized by Californian DMV to test on the road the driverless car.