Samsung Establishes $300M Smart Car Fund

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The world's largest smartphone maker is breaking into the automotive technology world. The Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund has an initial Dollars 300 million, and its first investment is USD 75 million in TTtech, a specialist in the integration of automotive safety and control systems that works closely with Audi. This fund will primarily be used to support startups to help them experiment in the auto sector.

This is not Samsung's first move to invest in automotive tech.

TTTech, an Austria-based networked safety control systems developer spun out from TU Wien, raised €75m ($89m) from electronics producer Samsung today. In addition, Audi has also invested in the same firm.

In announcing the new unit, Samsung was careful to note that it won't enter the car-manufacturing business, positioning itself as non-threatening ally to automakers. Harman was one of Samsung's acquisitions previous year, worth $8 billion.

John Absmeier, vice president of smart machines for the Samsung Strategy & Innovation Center and former director of Delphi Automotive Plc's autonomous vehicle project in Silicon Valley, will lead the new unit, which was announced Thursday at the Frankfurt motor show. But the firm said it will not enter the car-manufacturing business, and will instead work with auto makers on their projects. The company does not produce vehicles yet, but it acquired licenses to operate and test its upcoming autonomous driving vehicles in South Korea and California. It has become quite evident that every aspect of the vehicle business will be driven through technology.

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The company has already pledged $8 billion into advancing the technology, and now the electronics giant is starting a fund dedicated to the industry. Some of them are developing autonomous cars and are hiring resources who can tap this area for them.

The spinout previously received $55m of funding from Audi, semiconductor producer Infineon Technologies and industrial and power equipment manufacturer General Electric in early 2015.

TTTech has a diverse portfolio as it develops systems for road, air and aerospace. It has also developed systems for planes and spacecraft. "Samsung brings a breadth and a depth of technologies as well as an ecosystem of partners to accelerate development for level 2 to level 5 autonomous platforms". TTTech has demonstrated a remarkable ability to innovate and build world-class technologies and platforms.

"There is already a high demand for ADAS solutions, and that demand is rapidly growing with the advancements in connected cars and autonomous driving", Harman President and CEO Dinesh Paliwal said in a statement.

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