Samsung's ambitions to be a player in the self-driving car space aren't new, but today the company hit a big milestone. The company's home country of South Korea has approved Samsung's plans to test self-driving cars on real roads, not just test courses. According to the Korea Herald, Samsung isn't building cars itself. Instead, the company is working on developing sensors and computer parts that are backed up by its artificial intelligence and deep learning software.
The car itself that'll be hitting the road is a Hyundai customized with Samsung's own gear, but little else is known about exactly what sort of technology Samsung is providing. It sounds like a similar situation to Apple's own self-driving car that hit the road in Silicon Valley recently -- though Apple's Lexus is using plenty of off-the-shelf parts right now, it also likely contains some custom hardware of software on board. Both Apple and Samsung are likely angling to be providers or partners with auto-makers in the future, offering up their self-driving solutions.
The permit Samsung was just granted in South Korea is just the latest in a flurry of self-driving activity in the country. Nearly 20 test permits have been granted by South Korea's land ministry in a little over a year, with Hyundai being the first to get government approval.
While Samsung is keeping fairly quiet about what it's doing in the self-driving space, the rapid pace of development and intense interest in projects like this mean we'll likely hear what Samsung is working on in more detail before too long. Self-driving car technology is rapidly becoming a crowded space, so we'll have to see what Samsung thinks it can offer to stand out in the pack.