Samsung Enters Autonomous Driving Race With New Business, Funding

James Marshall
September 14, 2017

The Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund has an initial Dollars 300 million, and its first investment is USD 75 million in TTtech, a specialist in the integration of automotive safety and control systems that works closely with Audi.

As part of today's $300 million fund announcement, Samsung also announced a tie-up with its Harman subsidiary to create a new entity it's calling the Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit (SBU), which is geared toward "developing innovations for next-generation, smart, connected vehicles", according to a statement issued by the companies.

It's fair to say the autonomous driving industry is really heating up.

The world's biggest maker of semiconductors by revenue, Samsung is a consumer electronics giant that leads markets in products as varied as phones and TVs, displays and memory chips.

Samsung's two biggest rivals have also moved into the connected auto 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 $47 billion deal to buy NXP Semiconductors NV, the world's biggest maker of automotive-grade chips.

In addition to the fund, Harman International Industries, acquired by Samsung earlier this year, has established a new autonomous and ADAS business unit, Samsung said.

Samsung Electronics has entered into a strategic partnership with TTTech, which will develop new open-innovation platform for ADAS/AV systems.

In recent months, Samsung has secured licenses for autonomous driving pilot projects in South Korea and California. "This is a seminal moment for Samsung and our Automotive Innovation Fund, and we look forward to working with leading OEMs like Audi and the entire TTTech team to set a new standard for automotive-safety technology", Young Sohn continued.

"If we were not acquired by Samsung, in five years' time we would have been struggling", Paliwal said.

Samsung has previously invested in battery technology for electric vehicles, including Seeo which is a California-based company that develops rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, while it has also invested in StoreDot, a company that's building instant-charging batteries for electric cars.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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