The Samsung Group has entered a smart car business, which is cited as a promising future growth market, preparing to compete with global companies like Apple and Google.
According to Forbes and IT news site TechCrunch on June 8, the Samsung Group decided to invest US$6.5 million in connected car startup Vinli, in partnership with Cox Automotive, the Westly Group, and Continental.
Vinli is a developer of auto infotainment system software that can be operated in any car. It has developed dozens of apps capable of tracing the driving route of a teenager and finding parking spaces. The Dallas-based company is selling an infotainment system device online equipped with this kind of app and a Wi-Fi hotspot feature for US$99 per unit. Users can make their existing car smart by putting the device near the driver's seat, even if the car is old.
Smart cars provide a high level of safety and convenience with the convergence of electric, electronic, and communications technologies.
Apple, which is one of the two most prominent companies in the smartphone market, named cars as the ultimate mobile devices, and introduced an in-car operating system called Apple CarPlay. Google also entered the infotainment system business and developed Android Auto. Cars fitted with Google's system will be launched soon.
Cox Automotive owns vehicle valuation and automotive research company Kelley Blue Book and auto portal site AutoTrader.com. Continental is a global automotive systems supplier, and the Westly Group is famous for its early investments in Tesla Motors. Experts are saying that Samsung's partnership with the three renowned companies with special interests in innovative smart cars and its investment in a related firm have special meaning at the moment.
Executives at Samsung and Cox Automotive will also be named board members at Vinli. TechCrunch predicts that Vinli's business area will greatly expand, if Samsung's consumer-oriented perspective, Cox Automotive's network, which has close links with car dealers in North America, and Continental's expertise in auto parts are well utilized.