The arena of smart cars, self-driving vehicles, and other such automobile-related ventures is growing at an incredible rate as new entrants jump into the game and old hands expand the scope of their operations. Naturally, investors are at the core of all of this activity, and Samsung is one of the biggest corporate investors in the tech world, let alone the emerging world of the connected car. Being a tech company with their work in tons of different spaces and markets puts them in the unique position to invest where they see an opportunity for a company’s interests to serve or interlock with their own, and it’s this principle that has driven their recent increase in investments in smart cars and related areas.
After laying about $8 billion on the table to scoop up audio and auto space superstar Harman, Samsung is partnering up with the firm that they acquired, and the two are investing like crazy throughout the smart side of the automotive space. First on the list is Israeli startup StoreDot, who received $18 million toward the development of an advanced battery solution that utilizes natural crystals to give the electric vehicle of the future up to 300 miles on a 15-minute charge. That technology is expected to come to fruition around 2020, and possibly make its debut in the concept Porsche Mission E, where Porsche has promised future buyers 500 kilometers per charge, with the battery filling up about 80 percent in just 15 minutes.
NuTonomy, a self-driving car software maker out of the US who is currently testing their wares publicly in Boston and Singapore, managed to secure $3.6 million of investment from Samsung in one round of funding, and a more recent round saw them get another $1.6 million from the Korean giant. Samsung has promised to keep the cash flowing as long as NuTonomy continues to impress. LiDar maker Quanergy Systems and infotainment vendor Vinli are also on Samsung’s payroll. Between all of these and Samsung’s provision of fleet management services in the US, it’s clear that the smartphone, appliance, and barge giant wants to make big moves in the worldwide auto space and wants to make them very soon.