Samsung and NXP expand footprints in autonomous, connected driving

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Samsung is doubling down on autonomous driving with a new $300 million investment fund, while NXP has launched a new modem to enable connectivity between vehicles and their environments.

The Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will invest in technologies such as smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, connectivity solutions, automotive-grade safety solutions, security and privacy.

The fund’s first move is a €75 million strategic investment in Austrian safety company TTTech, which will use the funding to accelerate the growth of its safety technology for autonomous driving and operations.

Previously, the Korean company has taken stakes in AImotive and Renovo for automated driving, Quanergy, TetraVue, and Oculii for sensors, Autotalks and Valens for connectivity and Graphcore for high-performance computing.

Young Sohn, Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics, said: “TTTech has demonstrated a remarkable ability to innovate and build world-class technologies and platforms. This is a seminal moment for Samsung and our Automotive Innovation Fund, and we look forward to working with leading OEMs like Audi and the entire TTTech team to set a new standard for automotive-safety technology.”

In addition to the new fund, Samsung-owned Harman has established a new business unit which will work with its parent's Strategy and Innovation Centre Smart

Machines team to develop key connected car technologies. Harman, a standalone subsidiary of Samsung since it was acquired earlier this year, specialises in infotainment, cyber security, over-the-air updates and telematics systems.

In a statement, Samsung said it will not enter the car manufacturing business itself and will continue to focus on working with automotive and mobility companies.

Meanwhile, semiconductor company NXP has launched a new vehicle-to-everything (V2X) modem.

Designed to be used by car manufacturers, the SAF5400 allows vehicles to communicate with cars, infrastructure and other road users to increase safety.

The modem uses direct short range communication (DSRC) technology in the 5.9 GHz and 760 MHz bands.

It provides a dedicated secure channel for communications of safety messages and other data and includes the SXF1800, a hardware secure element used widely in technologies such as passports and smartphones.

According to NXP, the modem is interoperable with global software protocols from all leading vendors and provides low latency and a range of up to a mile.

The news follows Qualcomm launching a chipset for connected cars earlier this month, which combines LTE network connectivity with direct communications in the internationally harmonised 5.9GHz band.