Samsung invests in autonomous driving

The fund's first undisclosed investment will be in Austria's TTTech, a company specializing in safety, networking, and software integration for ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) and automated driving platforms.

As part of today's $300 million fund announcement, Samsung also announced a tie-up with its Harman subsidiary to create a new entity it's calling the Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit (SBU), which is geared toward "developing innovations for next-generation, smart, connected vehicles", according to a statement issued by the companies.

The world's biggest maker of semiconductors by revenue, Samsung is a consumer electronics giant that leads markets in products as varied as phones and TVs, displays and memory chips.

Samsung has secured licenses for on-road testing of autonomous driving software and hardware under development in South Korea and California. Absmeier will retain his current job as head of smart machines for the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Centre in Silicon Valley.

In the meantime, Samsung said its connected auto and in-car infotainment affiliate Harman has recently set up a new team, called Strategic Business Unit, which is dedicated exclusively to autonomous driving technologies and related driver assistance systems.

Auto industry veteran John Absmeier, who before joining Samsung in 2015 ran a pioneering autonomous driving programme at United States tier 1 auto supplier Delphi Automotive Plc, has been named senior vice president of the Samsung automotive business unit.

"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 of Samsung Electronics and chairman of the board of Harman. "In partnership with OEMs and startups, we will make the driver and passenger experience safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable". "The Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit and automotive fund reflect the company's commitment to the values of open innovation and collaboration".

The two will focus on engineering, high-performance computing, sensor technologies and artificial intelligence, as well as connectivity and cloud solutions that enable ADAS and automated driving, it added.

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