Samsung creates $300 million autonomous car fund

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Samsung creates $300 million autonomous car fund

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 car technology.

The electronics giant will use the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund to invest in startups related to a wide range of auto technology. The company has invested in auto startups before but this is the first time a fund was created solely for this purpose.

“Automotive advances like autonomous control and advanced driver assistance systems will have a profound impact on society - from transforming urban spaces to bringing mobility to aging populations,” said Young Sohn, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics.

The first to receive funding - 75 million euros - was TTTech, a Vienna-based firm with specialty in networking and safety controls. A long partner of Audi AG, the tech company is also working with Volkswagen Group to develop self-driving systems. Its technology was also applied to planes including the Boeing 787 and Nasa’s Orion spacecraft.

TTTech plans to use Samsung’s investment on the development of safety technology for autonomous driving.

“Together we will build products to support new NCAP requirements (safety regulations), solutions for in-vehicle infotainment systems, and new scalable architectures to support fully autonomous vehicles across various industries,” stated Stefan Poledna, a member of the board at TTTech.

On the same day, Samsung established a new strategic business unit alongside Harman International Industries that will solely focus on self-driving technology and advanced driver-assistance systems.

The team was set up under Harman’s Connected Car division but will work in collaboration with the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center’s Smart Machines team at Silicon Valley, composed of automotive engineers.

“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. “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.”

Samsung Electronics’ $8 million acquisition of Harman last year was the largest merger in Korea’s history. Samsung said it intended to lead the “future of automotive” with the audio and auto parts supplier.

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