Samsung ups bet on self-driving cars

Samsung launches $300M autonomous driving fund, puts $90M into TTTech

The tech giant has set up a $300m fund that will invest in connected auto and autonomous technologies, such as smart sensors, machine vision and other forms of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, connectivity, safety systems, security, and privacy.

The new autonomous driving investment comes after the South Korean company completed its acquisition of Harman, which makes vehicle navigation systems and technology for cars to communicate with each other and infrastructure.

However, Samsung said that $75m of that has already been allocated to an Austrian developer called TTTech that develops safety, deterministic networking, real-time systems, and complex software integration for connected and autonomous driving platforms.

The South Korean smartphone maker, which snapped up US -based Harman International Industries Inc. a year ago for $8 billion to elbow its way into the hotly contested market for automotive tech, is betting it can marry its consumer electronics expertise with Harman's presence in dashboards all over the world. Harman also supplies navigation services, onboard entertainment systems and vehicle networks that put it at the intersection of connected cars and mobile networks.

What areas will Samsung's $300m investment fund focus on?

Samsung Electronics has established a $300 million Automotive Innovation Fund, focused exclusively on the automotive market. "In partnership with OEMs and startups, we will make the driver and passenger experience safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable".

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"There is already a high demand for ADAS solutions, and that demand is rapidly growing with the advancements in connected cars and autonomous driving", Harman President and CEO Dinesh Paliwal said in a statement.

Harman's new team will work closely with Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center, Samsung's Silicon Valley head office that seeks the Korean tech giant's new growth engine businesses.

A couple of weeks ago, Samsung received a permit to test self-driving vehicles in California.

"We are very proud to have Samsung as an investor and partner in TTTech to create solutions for the next generation of highly integrated and data-intensive safety systems" said Georg Kopetz, member of the board at TTTech.

Rather than building a auto of its own, Samsung and Harmon plan to develop technologies that can be incorporated into vehicles from automakers.

The company had previously invested in automotive technology particularly automated driving startups such as AImotive, Renovo; Quanergy, TetraVue, and Oculii for sensors; Autotalks and Valens for connectivity; and Graphcore for high-performance computing.

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