Samsung steps up push into autonomous driving technology

In addition, HARMAN, a subsidiary wholly owned by Samsung Electronics, has established a new Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit (SBU).

The first to receive funding - 75 million euros - was TTTech, a Vienna-based firm with specialty in networking and safety controls.

The South Korean giant is gearing to up its presence in the self-driving auto domain.

The money will be allocated to a new business division responsible with developing autonomous technologies.

Samsung has already clearly signalled its interest in this area, through its acquisition earlier this year of infotainment and connected vehicle technology company Harman for $8bn. But the firm said it will not enter the car-manufacturing business, and will instead work with vehicle makers on their projects.

Now, the South Korean giant has announced its plans of investing no less than $300 million into the development of this project and the final tests will be conducted in California.

TTTech has a diverse portfolio as it develops systems for road, air and aerospace. Its technology was also applied to planes including the Boeing 787 and Nasa's Orion spacecraft. Samsung, which has a relatively weak foundation, have no choice but to make a massive investment and seek merger and acquisition (M&A) in order to dominate the market quickly. Samsung also intends to put the funds towards making the necessary machine learning and computer vision software, which will accompany these hardware.

Samsung said that Harman has now set up a new business unit that works on autonomous and advanced driver assistance systems. TTTech has demonstrated a remarkable ability to innovate and build world-class technologies and platforms. Samsung says the fund will invest in automotive start-ups. The demand is rapidly growing with the advancements in connected cars and autonomous driving. 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.

It has a long-standing relationship with one of its investors, automotive manufacturer Audi, and has created automated driving systems for another carmaker, Volkswagen, which have been successfully piloted.

Vanessa Coleman