Samsung & Baidu Enter The Field of Self-Driving Cars
The automotive industry is undergoing a full disruption both in terms of technologies and new competition from unrelated sectors. The industry is gradually moving towards electric self-driving cars. Most of the major automakers have already been testing a variety of electric self-driving solutions, and tech giants Google and Apple are bound to create some major shockwaves in the auto industry’s future market share. Now, two other tech giants, Samsung and Baidu, have also decided to enter the race for electric self-driving cars.
Samsung said that it is creating a new division, which will develop a variety of automotive-related technologies, including in-car entertainment, satellite navigation and self-driving solutions. Investment analysts have welcomed the announcement, since they have been increasingly pressuring Samsung to add a new revenue stream by leveraging its strength in chips and displays to serve carmakers in need of sophisticated technologies. The new division will be independently operated, but will collaborate with other existing Samsung divisions to take advantage of synergies and in-house competencies.
Internet search giant Baidu also announced that it has entered the race for self-driving cars, and revealed that it has already successfully tested a self-driving BMW prototype in China.
Wang Jing, a Baidu senior vice president, said that the company has built two prototype BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo self-driving cars. Similarly to Google’s self-driving car, the prototype BMW uses Lidar and other sensors to see its surroundings, and it leverages detailed maps and deep-learning software to process the data and navigate through obstacles. Jing added that the self-driving car prototype has already been tested on the busy expressways in northern Beijing, “hundreds of times, with several trips each day,” reaching speeds of up to 60 mph. The initial goal, according to Jing, is for Baidu to develop self-driving public shuttles, but more self-driving automotive applications could be developed at a later stage.