It turns out that Apple isn’t the only smartphone company dabbling in the trendy field of self-driving cars. According to The Korea Herald, Samsung was just recently approved by the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport to test autonomous cars on public roads.
Little is known about Samsung’s self-driving cars, except that it’s using a “commercialized Hyundai vehicle equipped with the latest cameras and sensors,” according to the Herald. A spokesperson for the Seoul-based electronics company did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2015, Samsung announced that it was creating a new team to work on self-driving car technologies. The division was said to focus on components rather than building an entire vehicle, while declining to go into further detail about its long-term plans.
And earlier this month, Apple received a permit to start testing self-driving car technology in California. The iPhone-maker’s test car, a white Lexus RX450h crossover, was recently spotted by a driver somewhere in the Silicon Valley area.
Many of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, and most of the major automakers, have been working on self-driving technology for years now. But two of the world’s biggest consumer electronics companies, Apple and Samsung, have only recently taken steps to start testing their own autonomous vehicles.
It’s unclear how dominant either will be in the field: on one hand, both companies appear to be playing catch-up to self-driving leaders like Google and Uber; on the other, Apple and Samsung are sitting on gigantic piles of money that could give them an edge in three or four years, when self-driving cars are expected to hit the roads in full force.