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Samsung embarks on investment in autonomous driving

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SEOUL - South Korea's tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. said Thursday that it will create a $300 million fund to strengthen its autonomous driving and other auto-related startups and technologies.



The world’s No. 1 chip and handset maker, Samsung has embarked on a new autonomous driving business by announcing the creation of a new fund Wednesday.

The South Korean technology giant established a $300 million fund -- Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund -- that will exclusively focus on connected car and autonomous driving technologies, the company said in a press release Thursday.

The autonomous technologies include smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, connectivity solutions, automotive-grade safety solutions, security and privacy.

Samsung has secured licenses for on-road testing of autonomous driving software and hardware under development in Korea and California.

The first investment of the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will be in TTTech, a Vienna-headquartered company specialised in functional safety, deterministic networking, real-time systems, and complex software integration for ADAS and automated driving platforms.

Samsung will invest 75 million euros ($89.1 million) in the Austrian firm.

Adding to the fund, Harman, a new Samsung subsidiary, created a new business unit named “Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit” under its current Connected Car division, which will be in charge of developing key technology for connected cars.

The new Harman unit will also work with Samsung Strategy and Innovation Centre’s Smart Machines team for co-development of needed technology.

“During this period of extraordinary transformation in the automotive industry, we are excited to play a leadership role in supporting and shaping the future of smarter, more connected vehicles,” said Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics and chairman of the board of Harman. “The Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit and automotive fund reflect the company’s commitment to the values of open innovation and collaboration. In partnership with OEMs and startups, we will make the driver and passenger experience safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable.”

Samsung and Harman will focus on engineering, high-performance computing, sensor technologies, algorithms, artificial intelligence, as well as connectivity and cloud solutions that enable Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and automated driving, the companies said.

“There is already a high demand for ADAS solutions, and that demand is rapidly growing with the advancements in connected cars and autonomous driving,” said Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal. “This strategic business unit demonstrates Samsung’s and Harman’s commitment to answer that call -- to be the definitive partner for seamless and integrated technologies.”

Industry veteran John Absmeier has been appointed senior vice president of the new Harman unit, and will also retain his current role as vice president of Smart Machines for SSIC.

Published : September 17, 2017

By : The Korea Herald/ANN