Samsung just got approval to test self-driving cars in South Korea


The company logo is displayed at the Samsung news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo Thomson
Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung has gotten permission from South Korean
authorities to domestically test a driverless vehicle fitted with
its electronic parts and software, as the tech giant aims to
muscle into the automotive industry in search of a new growth
driver.

The land ministry, in a statement issued on Monday, said the car
is a modified version of a South Korean car maker’s vehicle using
Samsung’s own components such as cameras as well as its
artificial intelligence software.

The firm plans to use the car to develop a self-driving algorithm
capable of driving in adverse weather conditions and
next-generation components for autonomous cars, the ministry
said.

“We would like to clarify that the company has no plan to enter
the car manufacturing business,” Samsung told Reuters in a
separate statement on Tuesday, adding the vehicle will further
its development of “deep learning algorithms for autonomous
operations”.

Samsung has identified the auto industry as a new source of
growth as the market for its key products such as smartphones
matures. It completed the $8 billion acquisition of Harman
International Industries earlier this year, a move that analysts
say may help Samsung scale up quickly by taking control of an
automotive parts maker with a proven track record.

It may take years for the auto industry to become a big enough
business to rival its mainstay memory chip and smartphone
operations, however. Samsung has not clinched any major supply
agreements with car makers yet.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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