It’s 2017, and you’ve likely seen the buzz about electric cars, cars that can drive themselves, and new sensor technologies that could potentially revolutionise the automobile industry as we know it.
Samsung has too, and wants to be involved: the Korean electronics giant has earmarked $300 million for investment in car-related startups and technologies.
This move makes good sense as growth in the the smartphone market has been flat of late, while the automotive industry is in the midst of many radical, technological changes, not least of which is the interest in self-driving cars. Getting in on the ground floor makes good business sense, then.
The first major investment Samsung is making is in NXP Semiconductors, a company that specialises in creating automotive processors. NXP has provided its services and products to some big names in the past, including NASA, Boeing, and Audi. Samsung kicking off its spending spree with an investment of $89 million in NXP.
Samsung has already made inroads into the automotive industry thanks to its recent acquisition of Harman, a company that specialises in consumer audio speakers. 65% of Harman’s revenue is derived from the solutions it creates for satnavs and in-car entertainment systems, a figure the company says it wants to grow. A new business unit to focus on doing exactly that has already been spun up.
The long-term view is for Samsung to use existing business units in conjunction with new acquisitions to help develop smart vehicle technologies that use smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence and other technological innovations to make the cars of the future that can drive themselves, safely and intelligently.
As the mobile phone market continues to stagnate, and the autonomous vehicle market takes off, this is likely a very clever move on Samsung’s part.
What do you think? Would you trust a Samsung-branded vehicle safety, entertainment, management, or navigation system? All of the above? None? Let us know in the comments below.
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