The company on Thursday announced it has established a $300 million fund, which will focus on "connected vehicle and autonomous technologies, including smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, connectivity solutions, automotive-grade safety solutions, security, and privacy".
The fund's first investment is $75m in TTTech, a networking and safety controls company that is working on the complex software integration for automated driving platforms. The fund will focus on areas such as machine vision and AI, connectivity, vehicle safety, and smart sensors; its initial investment will be in TTTech, an Austria-based networked safety controls specialist.
The South Korean company, known for its Galaxy smartphones, is launching a new unit dedicated to automotive tech.
Apple, which has always been rumoured to be working its own vehicle, seems to have stepped back from that, and Google has similarly emphasised that it does not now want to build its own cars, preferring to offer the smart systems that will run the vehicles built by others.
Samsung Electronics is starting to focus on a different kind of mobile technology. Instead, Samsung will work with automakers and other mobility companies to "develop the next generation of automotive innovation".
Dinesh Paliwal, president and CEO of Harman added: "There is already a high demand for Advanced driver assist system solutions, and that demand is rapidly growing with the advancements in connected cars and autonomous driving". Samsung already has licenses to do on-road testing of autonomous vehicle technology and hardware in both South Korea and California. He also bears experience of working in automotive industry, and in fact worked as a former Director at a US-based self-driving vehicle company, Delphi Automotive. It also reflects the incredible power that Samsung and HARMAN, as a collective force, will bring to our OEM customers as we combine Samsung's scale and resources with HARMAN's deep automotive experience and networks.
Rather than building a auto of its own, Samsung and Harmon plan to develop technologies that can be incorporated into vehicles from automakers. Together, the two groups will focus on developing technologies that underlie self-driving systems, including high-performance computers, sensors and artificial intelligence. Samsung said it meant to lead the "future of automotive" with the audio and auto parts supplier.