Samsung Steps Up Push Into Autonomous Driving Technology

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Samsung Electronics announced the creation of a $300 million fund dedicated to automotive innovation on Thursday, the most recent in a number of moves that underline the company's interest in autonomous vehicle technology. The Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund has an initial United States 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.

The announcement comes shortly after Samsung completed its acquisition of American audio and in-car technology firm Harman.

Earlier this year, Samsung acquired Harman, an American company that produces auto navigation systems and auto technology that will allow multiple vehicles to communicate with each other. TTTech claims that its collaborative and flexible technology like its new open safety platform, MotionWise that enables OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers to accelerate the development, integration, and validation of new capabilities in their vehicles.

Samsung Electronics' $8 million acquisition of Harman previous year was the largest merger in Korea's history.

Samsung Electronics has established a $300 million Automotive Innovation Fund, focused exclusively on the automotive market. It also made it clear it will not enter the vehicle manufacturing business, electing to remain focused on working with existing automakers and mobility companies to help develop future automotive innovations.

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"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", Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung, said in a statement.

"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 Dinesh Paliwal, president and CEO of Harman.

"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. The news which just came out shows that Samsung is committing a $300m fund towards funding the startups, that aim at developing the necessary tech to power an autonomous auto.

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. The company has on-road driverless auto test licenses in both South Korea and California, as it tests out new components and systems.