South Korean electronics giant Samsung is looking to enter the autonomous vehicles market, Reuters reports.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is building on its recent USD$8 billion acquisition of audio and auto parts supplier Harman.
Samsung announced on Thursday at the Frankfurt Motor Show that is has set up a new business unit to research and develop autonomous driving technologies. It has also created a USD$300 million fund to invest in automotive start-ups and technology.
“It’s time to communicate our intent to enter the autonomous driving market,” Young Sohn, the company’s president and chief strategy officer, told Reuters. “Samsung has been incubating this business for quite a while.”
Sohn says that Samsung’s hugely diverse electronics business, and its recent acquisition of Harman, provides the company with the technical expertise and experience it needs to succeed in the autonomous vehicle market.
Samsung’s two biggest rivals have also moved into the connected car market over the past year, at greater cost: Intel Corp paid $15.3 billion last month to acquire Mobileye, the current market leader in collision-detection ADAS software, while Qualcomm Inc is seeking regulatory approval for its USD$47 billion deal to buy NXP Semiconductors NV, the world’s biggest maker of automotive-grade chips.
Sohn said the Autonomous/ADAS business unit will absorb hundreds of engineers Samsung already has working on autonomous driving technologies.
The new unit will sit within the connected car business of Harman, an independent subsidiary of Samsung, a spokesman added.
In recent months, Samsung has secured licenses for autonomous driving pilot projects in South Korea and California.