Samsung just received approval from the South Korean government to test its self-driving cars on public roads, The Korea Herald reports. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has, to date, issued approximately 20 approvals of this kind, the first of which went to Hyundai.
Samsung, which first started up a car biz back in 1994 before it was absorbed by Renault, is looking to take on the likes of Apple, Google and Uber in the driverless vehicle space, which it confirmed last year by scooping up in-car entertainment firm Harman for £6.4bn, in what marked the firm’s largest acquisition to date.
The firm’s plans revved up a gear this week, with the South Korean government granting it permission to begin testing an autonomous vehicle on public roads.
So says the Korea Herald, which reports that Samsung has become the 20th company to receive approval to trial self-driving vehicles on South Korean roads.
We don’t know much about the Samsung’s plans, but the Korea Herald notes that the firm will be testing a commercialised Hyundai vehicle equipped with Samsung-developed cameras and sensors. These will e backed by artificial intelligence (AI) and the deep-learning technologies to improve cars’ self-driving capabilities, “even in challenging weather conditions.”
In a statement given to Reuters, Samsung clarified that it wouldn’t be building its own vehicle.
“We would like to clarify that the company has no plan to enter the car manufacturing business,” a spokesperson said, adding that the vehicle will further its development of “deep learning algorithms for autonomous operations”.
News of Samsung entering the autonomous vehicle biz comes just weeks after London received its first taste of self-driving vehicles.
Trials taking place in Greenwich have opened up, allowing Londoners to test out driverless shuttles. The Borough is one of the government’s main testing grounds for smart-city tech, and group of applicants are currently taking turns to ride the two mile riverside route, known as Olympian Way, on a path that passes near North Greenwich station, the Emirates Airline, the O2, Farmopolis and Ravensbourne College.