Samsung detailed plans to establish itself as a leader in the connected car market, setting up a $300 million investment fund to drive development of related products and technologies and establishing a new autonomous division at subsidiary Harman International.
In an announcement on the opening day of the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (International Motor Show) in Frankfurt am Main, the company said the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will focus on developments including smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing, connectivity solutions, automotive-grade safety systems, security and privacy.
The fund’s first strategic investment will be in TTTech, a provider of automatic driver assistance systems (ADAS) networking and safety control equipment. The Austria-headquartered company announced Samsung will invest €75 million ($89.2 million) and jointly develop a modular hardware platform using TTTech’s MotionWise software.
TTTech board member Georg Kopetz said: “Samsung brings a breadth and a depth of technologies as well as an ecosystem of partners to accelerate development for level two to level five autonomous platforms.”
The company offers Samsung access to Volkswagen Group as a potential customer, having assisted in the development of a vehicle control system featured in the latest Audi A8.
In addition to setting up the investment fund, Samsung subsidiary Harman is forming the Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit, which will report to Harman’s Connected Car division and work closely with the smart machines team at Samsung’s Strategy and Innovation Centre to develop technologies covering vehicle safety.
Samsung agreed an $8 billion acquisition of Harman in November 2016, which was completed earlier this year. At the time, the latter’s audio and connected car equipment was installed in 30 million vehicles.
Young Sohn, president and CSO of Samsung Electronics and chairman of Harman’s board, said the new business unit and investment fund highlights Samsung’s “commitment to the values of open innovation and collaboration”. The company will seek to “make the driver and passenger experience safer” by forging partnerships with OEMs and start-ups.
Dinesh Paliwal, president and CEO of Harman, said the dedicated business unit will enable both companies to tap high demand for ADAS products by combining “Samsung’s scale and resources with Harman’s deep automotive experience and networks”.