The world's largest smartphone maker is breaking into the automotive technology world.
Samsung announced that it has set up a $300 million fund to invest in automotive startups and autonomous driving technology. According to the Financial Times, the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will target investments in "connected car and autonomous driving technologies, including sensors, machine vision, and safety solutions."
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The first recipient of funding is TTTech, an Austrian company that develops safety software for automated driving platforms. Samsung will also work with Harman to develop connected-car technology. Samsung acquired the auto and audio product maker last November.
With its Harman subsidiary and a strong grasp on a wide range of electronics from phones and TVs to memory chips, Samsung's president Young Sohn told Reuters that the company is confident in its ability to enter an increasingly crowded market. Alphabet and Tesla have been testing autonomous driving technologies and Samsung rival Intel acquired Mobileye last month in its own effort to enter the market.
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However, while Samsung has licenses for autonomous driving on-road testing in South Korea and California, the FT reports that the company does not plan to manufacture the cars itself.
This is not Samsung's first investment in automotive startups. Previously, the company has invested in AImotive and Renovo for automated driving, as well as other tech companies like Quanergy and Graphcore.