South Korean mobile giant Samsung now has an entire division working day in, day out on chips for self-driving cars, in an effort to push aside competitors and become the go-to supplier in this booming market.
The team is mainly researchers from Samsung’s semiconductor and sensor division, according to The Korea Herald, which cites a local newspaper. One of the three CEOs, vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, is overseeing the task force.
Not much is known about Samsung’s progress in building chips and sensors for self-driving vehicles. The market is currently dominated by one Japanese company, which sells 50 percent of all self-driving sensors.
Samsung has had deals in the past with BMW, as the sole provider of batteries for its electric and hybrid cars. It apparently has a chip deal with Audi for its self-driving cars in the near future.
It is not the first time the company has created an entire division for what we assume to be a “niche” market, last year we heard an entire division was working on Apple’s displays to ensure it choses Samsung in 2016.
Samsung’s been in the third-party chip business for a while
While Samsung might appear to be all-consumer, a big portion of its revenue comes from building chips for other companies, including its competitors like Apple and LG.
We don’t know the scale of divisions at Samsung however, it might be 10 or 100 researchers working on these chips for self-driving cars. We’re also in the dark on the architecture of the chips, however Nvidia’s Drive PX2, focused on self-driving cars, has similar architecture to PC chips.
Self-driving cars require a lot of computation while on the road, to analyse the road and make decisions. Google and other self-driving developers are trying to map every decision, but the chip might need some artificial intelligence to make the correct decision on the fly without the help of a database.