According to the DMV’s (Department of Motor Vehicles) California website, as of August 30, 2017, there are now 39 tech companies listed as registered permit holders, including the likes of Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen Group, Waymo, BMW, Apple, NVIDA, GM and Samsung Electronics.
Samsung is using modified vehicles from Hyundai for its driverless mule program, fitted with its own hardware, including sensors and artificial intelligence computer modules.
In fact, Samsung’s permit was actually granted to its semiconductor division rather than the mainstream electronic hardware business.
According to reports, Samsung will use the technology to develop systems that will make self-driving vehicles viable in even the worst weather conditions - an issue which has so far been a major obstacle for most players.
In that regard, it seems like Samsung wants to become a major supplier of platforms and software for the fast-moving sector, rather than attempting to build autonomous cars of its own.
It’s a strategy that makes even more sense when you consider Samsung’s US$8bn acquisition of US automotive and audio giant Harman International Industries earlier this year, which will enable the company to better develop connectivity between cars of the future.