Samsung has announced it will soon begin producing components for autonomous cars. Rather than developing entire cars itself, like Google, Apple and Tesla, Samsung will create parts such as displays and batteries for carmakers to use.
Instead of following in the slipstream of Apple, which is understood to be producing its own car, Samsung has set up a new division to focus on self-driving technologies and increase the sales of components used for in-car entertainment and satellite navigation systems. Much more than just a phone manufacturer, Samsung is well-positioned to produce a number of automotive components.
Samsung already produces chips, displays and rechargeable batteries, all of which can be developed for use in cars. The company will be keen to explore new avenues; despite being the world's largest smartphone maker by volume, Samsung has had its profits squeezed by Apple and a number of low-cost Chinese firms.
Desperate for a new growth engine
Daniel Kim, of investment bank Macquarie, told the Financial Times: "Samsung seems desperate to find a new growth engine. All their main businesses are quite mature and saturated. Samsung is a department store of all the technologies. But Samsung is new and will have to compete against Apple and Google as well as the existing carmakers."
"[Samsung is] basically applying its Internet of Things technology to automobiles," CW Chung of Nomura, a Japanese financial holding company, told the newspaper. "The company should have entered the market earlier as it already has all the technologies needed for the business."
Competing against an established marketplace will always be a challenge for technology companies looking to disrupt carmakers. Tesla has spent many years and huge amounts of money to get to a position where it can rival more established car companies. It would be reasonable to expect Apple and Samsung to find entering the market equally difficult.