Samsung has reportedly received permission to test its first self-driving vehicles around its home country of South Korea. Samsung more or less has its hand in every sector of the tech industry, but with in-car tech becoming increasingly important due to the future self-driving car boom that is expected, it probably isn't a surprise the company is hoping to become a leader in the car industry too. Samsung has confirmed that it currently has no plans to develop their own self-driving car from scratch. Initially, the company will be using Hyundai cars in order to test their software.
If Samsung were to sell their own cars it wouldn't necessarily be that hard, though, with Samsung and Renault jointly owning Renault-Samsung Motors which is headquartered in South Korea and could provide Samsung with the platform to push its tech into the mainstream. Nevertheless, the fact that Samsung is making this push into the car industry, even if it is only on the software side of things, shows how serious the company is about it. After all, Harman Kardon, which was only recently purchased by the company, is also a popular manufacturer of in-car entertainment systems, so this, along with the self-driving tech that Samsung will provide could make it one of the biggest companies in the car industry, even if it shies away from manufacturing its own vehicles.
Interestingly, though, it appears Samsung is on track to directly compete with Apple in yet another industry. They have been arch rivals ever since the unveiling of the original Samsung Galaxy S in the smartphone market and rumors point towards Apple eventually entering the VR market which would once again pit them against each other. This, along with a rivalry in the self-driving car market is sure to be an interesting combination, at least for consumers. After all, Samsung has historically relied on other company's software for its major products, with Android being the backbone of its smartphones, Oculus helping with its VR headsets and Windows being the basis of its laptop line. By becoming the provider of software, Samsung is moving away from its dependence on third-party software.
There is still a couple of questions that many people may have on their minds, such as when will the company's software be ready and will it actually be good enough to compete with Alphabet and Apple. As Samsung is still in the initial stages there's no way of knowing when the software will actually be ready, though the company is sure to be keen on beating Apple to release. Regarding their ability to compete, it's likely that Samsung will focus on Asian markets initially due to the fact that it is yet to express any interest in conducting tests elsewhere while Apple and Alphabet will focus on the United States, so it'll likely be some time before the companies are directly competing with each other. There is still a pretty long time before self-driving cars become mainstream so over time each company's strategy will be refined, with Samsung's likely focusing on an overall experience that includes every piece of tech from the processor and entertainment system to the all-important software. Undeniably, though, sooner or later all software and manufacturing companies will have to come together to create a series of basic regulations that allow cars to communicate with each other, regardless of the manufacturer and software on board – Similar in the way that any smartphone can communicate with any other.