Samsung Gains Approval To Test Self-Driving Cars In California

It is a tossup whether Samsung is best known for its smartphones, televisions, or semiconductor business, at least for now anyway. Give it some time and Samsung might end up being associated with self-driving cars. The South Korean electronics maker certainly has an interest in autonomous vehicles—what tech company doesn't these days?—which was reinforced by receiving permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test cars that drive themselves on state roads.

Samsung joins a growing list of companies that have obtained permits from the DMV to test autonomous vehicles. Some of the other notable names include automakers GM, Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Tesla, to name a view, along with tech firms such as Apple, NVIDIA, and now Samsung, among others. Companies have recognize that there is no putting the brakes on the self-driving car movement at this point, and they all want in on the action.

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California has not always been amenable to the interests of tech companies who want advance the category. Near the end of 2015, Google said it was "gravely disappointed" with a set of rules drafted by California's DMV that set certain restrictions on autonomous vehicle use, such as requiring a steering wheel and the need for a licensed driver behind the wheel in case something goes wrong.

"In developing vehicles that can take anyone from A to B at the push of a button, we’re hoping to transform mobility for millions of people, whether by reducing the 94 percent of accidents caused by human error or bringing everyday destinations within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car," Google spokesman Johnny Luu said in a statement at the time.

In 2016, Google and several automakers formed a coalition to promote the benefits of self-driving cars. The members also banded together to put pressure on the DMV to rescind some of its rules that could ultimately serve as a roadblock to driver-less vehicles.

As for Samsung, this is not brand new territory for the company. Earlier this year, Samsung was approved in South Korea to test self-driving cars. Samsung has not talked a whole lot about its efforts in the category, though it is known that it has collaborated with Hyundai to outfit its commercial vehicles with cameras and sensors. Samsung also signed an agreement with Tesla last year to co-develop autopilot processors for cars.

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