Tech Transformers

Samsung steps up its driverless car challenge to Google, Uber, Apple

Key Points
  • Samsung has been given permission by South Korean authorities to test self-driving cars in its home country.
  • Samsung will be providing the sensors and artificial intelligence technologies for Hyundai cars.

Samsung has been granted permission to test its driverless cars on the road in South Korea, as it joins the likes of Apple and Google in the race to take a lead in future vehicle technology.

The electronics giant is developing the sensors and computing modules required for autonomous vehicles and has embedded its technology into a Hyundai car.

Samsung will not be developing a whole car, but instead, along with its sensor technology, will be providing its artificial intelligence to automakers.

It's an approach similar to the likes of Google which last year announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler to build self-driving minivans together.

The approval for Samsung, which was granted by South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, will allow the company to compete with rivals such as Apple, Google and Uber.

Getty Images

Apple recently obtained a permit issued by California authorities which granted the tech giant permission to test autonomous vehicles.

Samsung hasn't been very public about its auto ambitions until it announced last year that it was buying Harman International for $8 billion. At the time, Samsung said the deal would give the company "a significant presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies, particularly automotive electronics, which has been a strategic priority."

In March, the government revised regulations to allow the operation of autonomous vehicles without a steering wheel and pedals, while reducing the number of passengers required to be on board from two to one.

"Autonomous vehicles are a complex of advanced technologies such as automobiles, artificial intelligence, and information and communications. They require cooperation in various fields," a statement from the ministry said, according to Google Translate.

Samsung has been diversifying its business away from its reliance on smartphones, focusing on electronics components such as memory for mobile devices and processors. The driverless car push is another sign of its ambition to find new avenues for growth.