Samsung Announces a $300 Million Automotive Innovation Fund

In order to tap the largely growing market of smart automobiles, world’s largest smartphone giant Samsung has decided to strongly focus on its automobile strategy. Samsung has launched an Automotive Innovation Fund worth $300 million. This fund will primarily be used to support startups to help them experiment in the auto sector.

The first tranche of this fund worth €75 million (nearly $90 million) has been invested into TTTech. Based out of Austria, TTTech develops platforms and safety software for connected cars. In addition, Audi has also invested in the same firm.

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Samsung has not stopped just here as it is planning to partner with Harman to develop connected-car technology. Harman was one of Samsung’s acquisitions last year, worth $8 billion. 

Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics and Chairman of the Board of Harman said:

“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”

He also said in a statement:

“The Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit and automotive fund reflect the company’s commitment to the values of open innovation and collaboration. In partnership with OEMs and start-ups, we will make the driver and passenger experience safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable”

Samsung has been among those companies which are aggressively pursuing the car business as it considers it as its new hardware. It expects to receive a permit for self-driving car tests in California in addition to its recently acquired permit in the Korean market.

The company had previously invested in automotive technology particularly automated driving startups such as AImotive, Renovo; Quanergy, TetraVue, and Oculii for sensors; Autotalks and Valens for connectivity; and Graphcore for high-performance computing.

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Auto giants are investing massively in futuristic car technology

World’s largest auto manufacturers like Volkswagen, GM, and Toyota have realized that the future of auto industry will be driven by technology. It has become quite evident that every aspect of the car business will be driven through technology.

Such drastic changes in the industry dynamics have encouraged auto giants to put billions of dollars into supporting startups which are developing technology for futuristic automobiles. GM has injected $1 billion in Lyft, Volkswagen has invested $180 million in smart car tech maker Mobvoi, and Ford has provided $1 billion to Argo AI for self-driving tech). Additionally, some auto manufacturers are focusing on their internal research and development for the same reason.

Not just auto companies but other technology giants such as Apple, Google and Baidu are planning to diversify into auto sector. Some of them are developing autonomous cars and are hiring resources who can tap this area for them.

Other than Samsung, TTTech has already generated an amount of $54 million from Audi, General Electric and Infineon.

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TTTech and its accolades so far

TTTech has a diverse portfolio as it develops systems for road, air and aerospace. The company’s systems are used for big names like Boeing 787 Dreamliner and NASA’s Orion. However, the current funding provided by Samsung will be exclusively used to expand the self-driving car systems. TTTech has been working on this project with Audi already. Conclusively, it plans to build onto these funds and bring revolutionary innovation in this area.

TTTech has expertise over a wide range of services including “functional safety, deterministic networking, real-time systems, and complex software integration” for autonomous and other automated systems.

According to Sohn:

“Automotive advances like autonomous controls and advanced driver assistance systems will have a profound impact on society—from transforming urban spaces to bringing mobility to aging populations. At Samsung, we see it as our responsibility to invest in the technologies that will revolutionize the way we live, work, and connect with one another”

He further added:

“TTTech has demonstrated a remarkable ability to innovate and build world-class technologies and platforms. This is a seminal moment for Samsung. Our Automotive Innovation Fund, and we look forward to working with leading OEMs like Audi and the entire TTTech team to set a new standard for automotive-safety technology”

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The CEO and President of HARMAN said in a statement:

“There is already a high demand for ADAS solutions. The demand is rapidly growing with the advancements in connected cars and autonomous driving. This strategic business unit demonstrates Samsung’s and HARMAN’s commitment to answer that call – to be the definitive partner for seamless and integrated technologies. It also reflects the incredible power that Samsung and HARMAN, as a collective force, will bring to our OEM customers as we combine Samsung’s scale and resources with HARMAN’s deep automotive experience and networks. Together, we are driving the future of automotive”

 

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