Samsung May Want To Build An IoT Of Cars, Patent Suggests

In short: Samsung may be looking to build a system for detecting and accounting for "sensing blind zones" in autonomous vehicles using other sensor-enabled vehicles, based on a patent recently approved with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The system utilizes onboard sensors within a self-driving car, controlling it in a way that appears to be similar to other designs. However, it differentiates by using those to also detect its own probable blind spots where its own detectors aren't reaching and generating a 'control signal' through another sensor-enabled 'control object' to fill in the gaps. The company also describes the use of higher-intensity headlights redirected automatically to cover the obscured or obstructed area, such as toward a sidewalk that's blocked by parked vehicles or a building. The system would be capable of generating an 'alarm' in response to objects partially detected in blind spots based on a number of factors, such as speed and direction of travel. That would effectively mean that the vehicle could change lanes or send an alert out before a situation becomes dangerous.

Background: Samsung has, of course, dabbled in self-driving technologies in the past. At CES 2018, for example, the company teamed up with subsidiary HARMAN on a two-part autonomous vehicle platform. That was comprised of a "skateboard" chassis and an exceptionally customizable outer shell it dubbed the "pod." The former of those was a fairly standard chassis in the category but the pods were shown to be interchangeable and customizable with displays, infotainment, Softbank's Pepper robotic assistant, and more. All of that was said to be customizable by user-preference set by the system as soon as it recognized the rider. Of course, the pod could be reconfigured into anything from social gathering style atmosphere to a formal meeting space or private people mover meant to help business professionals get work done while on the road. More recently, rumors about possible interest in starting a self-driving vehicle branch began to circulate based on Samsung's rejuvenated interest in 5G and AI. Speculation was also put forward by industry experts and market watchers which predicted Samsung would be investing in autonomous driving-related companies.

Impact: With that said, Samsung has since denied those rumors and indicated that any entry into the market would likely be on the connectivity and chipset fronts. This latest patent seems to confirm that is the direction the company will be taking. If the Korean tech giant does utilize this patent in any upcoming hardware, the result could ultimately be self-driving vehicles with AI that is not only more aware of its surroundings. It could spawn a system by which AI-driven transport might be able to react to the unknown where practical and obtain further data about the unknown where possible with a direct focus on safety.

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