Samsung is moving fast ahead to build systems for a self-driving car; South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, gave Samsung the approval to test its self-driving car on public roads today.
Although Samsung modified a race track to test its self-driving car last year, it’s difficult to test for all the variety of ill-advised behavior that occurs on public roads. As such, Samsung’s public tests will focus on improving its sensors and algorithms – that’s an important distinction to make.
Samsung is not interested in building cars, rather, its research and development into self-driving cars is strictly about building systems for car manufacturers, that it can eventually sell. A Samsung official reiterated that goal in a statement:
The test run approval does not mean that Samsung is making a self-driving car. The pilot run is being carried out for software and solution development for an autonomous car, nothing more. It has nothing to do with devices development, but to test software and algorithm under development by Samsung,
Samsung will use Hyundai’s Grandeur sedan for its public tests, modified to accommodate for all the necessary sensors and equipment. A driver will also be at the helm while the car is driving autonomously.
Last year, the South Korean giant signed a deal with Tesla to manufacture custom chips for Tesla’s autonomous vehicles.
Apple recently gained a permit to test self-driving cars in California; Alphabet’s Waymo is offering free rides in Arizona, where Uber is also testing its self-driving car albeit with some setbacks. Self-driving cars are becoming a reality sooner than some of us may have imagined, and public tests like these help ensure their safety before they inevitably become ubiquitous.