May 2, 2017 / 11:02 AM / 4 months ago

Samsung Electronics gets S.Korea nod to test driverless car carrying its parts, software

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen in Seoul, South Korea, July 4, 2016.Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has got permission from South Korean authorities to domestically test a driverless vehicle fitted with its electronic parts and software, as the tech giant aims to muscle into the automotive industry in search of a new growth driver.

The land ministry, in a statement issued on Monday, said the car is a modified version of a South Korean car maker's vehicle using Samsung's own components such as cameras as well as its artificial intelligence software.

The firm plans to use the car to develop a self-driving algorithm capable of driving in adverse weather conditions and next-generation components for autonomous cars, the ministry said.

"We would like to clarify that the company has no plan to enter the car manufacturing business," Samsung told Reuters in a separate statement on Tuesday, adding the vehicle will further its development of "deep learning algorithms for autonomous operations".

Samsung has identified the auto industry as a new source of growth as the market for its key products such as smartphones matures. It completed the $8 billion acquisition of Harman International Industries earlier this year, a move that analysts say may help Samsung scale up quickly by taking control of an automotive parts maker with a proven track record.

It may take years for the auto industry to become a big enough business to rival its mainstay memory chip and smartphone operations, however. Samsung has not clinched any major supply agreements with car makers yet.

Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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