Samsung Electronics appears to have an intention to expand its reach to the field of autos, the Internet of Things (IoT), and robots by targeting the system semiconductor market using Exynos chips. The specific question this time is whether or not the Korean tech giant will enter the driverless car market.
According to industry sources on Feb. 22, Samsung mentioned the IoT, wearable devices, autonomous cars, virtual reality, 8K TVs, and robots as directions for the evolution of future technology after 2015 on the English home page of Exynos chips. The company added that its own application processors (APs) can contribute to this kind of technological innovation.
The industry is paying attention to the fact that the company mentioned autonomous cars among the many practical uses of Exynos chips. Last year, Samsung already suggested the possibility of featuring an iris recognition function in the 20-nm Exynos 7 Octa used in the Galaxy Note 4 on its home page.
The company also said that Exynos APs consume less power and facilitate a stable connection and fast speeds, expressing its anticipation of an increasing demand for its own APs in line with the opening of future markets. APs for cars will play the part of the brain and communications platform for autonomous driving and infotainment functions. In fact, Qualcomm showcased the industry's first smart auto system using the Snapdragon 602 at CES 2015, which was featured in the Maserati Quattroporte GTS.
As rival companies like Apple and Sony seem to be preparing to penetrate the driverless car market, there is no apparent reason for Samsung to hesitate. Apple has been involved in a project named Titan for one year, according to overseas media outlets. Titan is the name of its project for an autonomous electric mini-van.
Sony also bought a 2 percent stake in ZMP, a Japanese robot car start-up, by investing 100 million yen (929 million won, or US$839,878). The company is reportedly planning to develop driving solutions by combining its own image sensor technology and ZMP's technology in artificial intelligence. The LG Group, LG Electronics, LG Innotek, and LG Chem are engaged in auto-related businesses of displays, automotive electronics, modules, and batteries. Those LG subsidiaries turn over more than 1 trillion won (US$901 million) per year.
Industry analysts are saying that the Samsung Group's experiences in auto businesses give the firm an advantage over its rival companies. Moreover, its subsidiaries own both hardware and software solutions related to electric and autonomous cars.