Tuesday, 02 May 2017 09:50

Samsung testing self-driving software, not building cars

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Samsung Electronics has received permission from the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to test a self-driving car on public roads, but the company has denied that it is entering this market.

Instead, Samsung said in a statement that approval for the test run did not mean that it was making a self-driving car.

"The pilot run is being carried out for software and solution development for an autonomous car, nothing more," the company said, according to a report in the Korea Herald.

"It has nothing to do with devices development, but to test software and algorithm under development by Samsung."

The company said, for the test it would use Hyundai’s Grandeur sedan with laser scanning devices and radar, all made by other companies. This choice had been made because this model was widely used in South Korea.

The ministry said Samsung was currently developing a self-driving algorithm that could be depended on even in bad weather. It also planned to develop smart auto parts like computer modules and sensors which are manipulated using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Last year, Samsung signed a deal with Tesla to manufacture processors for the autonomous vehicles built by the latter.

Samsung sold its bankrupt automobile unit Samsung Motors to Renault 17 years ago. Since then, it has said it would never re-enter the automobile market, but has an auto component division as part of its future growth strategy.

The South Korean conglomerate has acquired Harman, a US automotive company, for 10 trillion won (US$8.79 billion) and is said to be talking to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to buy its auto parts affiliate Magneti Marelli.

Apple has obtained a permit to test vehicles in California while in Arizona, Alphabet’s Waymo is offering free rides and Uber is testing its self-driving vehicles.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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