Samsung pumps $300m into autonomous driving fund


As part of the new corporate structure, Harman researchers working on autonomous auto technologies will work together with their counterparts at the company's Strategy and Innovation Center, a research lab based in Silicon Valley, Samsung said.

Samsung Electronics said on September 14 it is setting up a fresh fund worth US$300 million to invest in autonomous driving technologies such as sensors, artificial and connectivity solutions and security.

The fund's first strategic investment will be in TTTech, a leader in functional safety, deterministic networking, real-time systems and complex software integration for an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) and automated driving platforms, Samsung said. A long partner of Audi AG, the tech company is also working with Volkswagen Group to develop self-driving systems.

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. Harman also supplies navigation services, onboard entertainment systems and vehicle networks that put it at the intersection of connected cars and mobile networks.

Samsung Electronics is starting to focus on a different kind of mobile technology.

The bounty of cash is part of a new business unit called the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund.

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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", said Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer, Samsung Electronics and Chairman of the Board, Harman.

"In partnership with OEMs and start-ups, we will make the driver and passenger experience safer, more convenient and more enjoyable".

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

Just don't expect Samsung to unveil its own vehicle any time soon.

Earlier investments by Samsung in the automotive sector include AImotive and Renovo for automated driving; Quanergy, TetraVue, and Oculii for sensors; Autotalks and Valens for connectivity; and Graphcore for high-performance computing.

"If we were not acquired by Samsung, in five years' time we would have been struggling", Paliwal said.