With innovation stalling, at least for now, in the smartphone market, we see companies shifting their R&D investments in technologies that are poised to disrupt other markets. One of those receiving the most attention these days is the automotive industry.
While the guts of cars and trucks have become littered with chips and sensors, we will soon be seeing even greater connectivity within the car as part of our Connected Society investing theme, as well as self-driving and organic light emitting diode interior lighting technology that resides in our Disruptive Technology theme. With competitors ranging from Apple (AAPL) to Google (GOOGL) and Intel (INTC) as well as Facebook (FB) and even Amazon (AMZN) investing in the future of auto, Samsung’s latest effort, given its various chip, battery and display businesses is to be expected.
Samsung has announced a $300 million fund to invest in a range of automotive technologies. The new Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will invest in connected car and autonomous driving technologies covering artificial intelligence (AI), machine vision, smart sensors, safety features, cybersecurity, and more.
The fund’s first investment will be in Austria’s TTTech, a company specializing in safety, networking, and software integration for ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) and automated driving platforms. Samsung revealed it will invest €75 million ($89 million) in the company.
The Korean electronics giant has made no secret of its intentions in the broader automotive realm and has been ramping up efforts in research and development for products relating to transport for a while now. Samsung has made previous investments in battery technology for electric vehicles, including investments in California-based Seeo, which develops rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and StoreDot, a company that’s building instant-charging batteries for electric cars.