Samsung Is the Next Big Player to Enter the Autonomous Vehicle Race

Samsung might be best known for making televisions or smartphones (like the Galaxy series Android phones), but they also make semiconductors and have crossed over into home appliances (like washing machines) too. But it looks like the company is making yet another foray into a promising new field of tech: self-driving cars.

It would make sense that a company the size of Samsung to make this leap, after all, its biggest competitor is Apple. And since Apple and Google are both major tech companies working on autonomous vehicles, Samsung’s joining the foray is not a foreign idea.

For example, Google spokesman Johnny Luu advises, “In developing vehicles that can take anyone from A to B at the push of a button, we’re hoping to transform mobility for millions of people, whether by reducing the 94 percent of accidents caused by human error or bringing everyday destinations within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car.”

But this is not, apparently, Samsung’s strategy. Instead, the Korean tech firm wants to focus on the tech and not on the cars.

In a statement, Samsung said: “As a global leader in connectivity, memory, and sensor technology, Samsung Electronics looks forward to participating in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program and joining in the pursuit of a smarter, safer transportation future.”

Essentially, then, the company is not planning to make its own cars. Instead, the company launched a division in 2015 focused solely on developing technology for these cars.

And that also makes sense. Both Google and Apple—who share top billing with Samsung as leading tech companies—have experimented with programs using modified vehicles (in these cases, Lexus SUVs) to test their autonomous vehicle systems. It should not be surprising, then, that Samsung will outfit Hyundai vehicles with their proprietary software; after all, both companies are Korean (and Samsung has a 20 percent stake in Renault Samsung Motors, a division of the Renault-Nissan alliance). It might also be that Samsung learned a thing or two after signing an agreement with Tesla, just last year, to collaborate on developing the autopilot processors Tesla wants for its cars.

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