Could We See A Samsung Smart Car?

Could We See A Samsung Smart Car?
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Korean electronics giant Samsung does not want to get left behind as the auto industry accelerates into the 21st century, so it has announced a series of auto-related initiatives over the last few weeks. On Wednesday, the family conglomerate announced the creation of a new team that would focus on products for the auto sector, including autonomous driving technologies. This of course begs the question are we going to see a Samsung smart car in the not too distant future?

The Wednesday statement named executive VP Park Jong Hwan as the leader of the new team. Park will coordinate participation of other company affiliates including battery maker Samsung SDI Co. and software provider Samsung SDS Co. The new smart car team will work outside of existing divisions to increase sales of a variety of car components, with a focus on in-car entertainment, satellite navigation and autonomous driving technologies.

More on Samsung’s move into the automotive sector

Analysts highlight that global electronics makers are engaged in a fierce competition to supply a growing automobile industry that plans to have autonomous (driverless) vehicles loaded with electronic sensors and displays on the market within five years. Moving into the auto component sector also allows Samsung to replace slumping growth in televisions and smartphone business that’s been hammered by cheaper competitors from  China and India.

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“Samsung just can’t leave this huge market untapped,” notes Greg Roh, an analyst at HMC Investment Securities Co., based in Seoul. Roh points out that car electronics like advanced semiconductors, car audio and sensors represent 30% of the total smart car market.

Related to this, just a few weeks ago, Samsung announced a partnership with Volkswagen’s Audi unit to supply memory chips for dashboard, infotainment and advanced driver assistance applications.Keep in mind that according to projections from research firm Gartner, the global automotive semiconductor market is anticipated to mushroom to $32.7 billion by the end of 2016.

Domestic electronics industry rival LG is providing 11 systems for the new Bolt, General Motors all-electric car, including the electric-drive motor, charger, batteries, the firms noted in a joint announcement earlier this fall. Back in 2011, GM and LG agreed to a deal to jointly design and engineer electric vehicles, expanding on an already existing relationship.

Of interest, LG reported $406 million in revenue from vehicle components for the third quarter of this year, but Samsung does not break out the performance of its vehicle components operations.

Apple smart car

Elon Musk’s Tesla is unquestionably the current king of the hill in the electric car / smart car industry, but the competition is starting to heat up as major players such as Mercedes, BMW, Google and Apple are continuing to make progress on their EV and driverless vehicle initiatives.

The media hyped Apple car project, which has been codenamed “Titan”, is supposedly already well beyond the concept stage, and is rumored to be a smart car style EV with autonomous driving capabilities. As reported by ValueWalk earlier this year, Apple has also been rumored to possibly be partnering up with Tesla or BMW for its Titan smart car project.

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