This announcement comes a few months after Apple – Samsung’s largest rival in the smartphone market – also received permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous driving technology in the state. In May, Samsung had received approval from the South Korean government to begin testing its self-driving technology on public roads in South Korea.
At that time it was learned that Samsung planned to test a modified Hyundai test car equipped with sensor and camera equipment needed to run the company’s autonomous driving software. Hyundai was the first automaker to gain approval to test autonomous technology on South Korean roads.
According to Reuters, Samsung did not specify what it planned to test in California, only that it secured the permit “in pursuit of a smarter, safer transportation future.” The company also told Reuters that it had “no plans to enter the car-manufacturing business.”
Early reports about Apple’s self-driving car efforts had suggested that the company was looking to manufacture its own car – an “iCar” as some called it. However more recent reports have suggested that Apple too may be focusing its efforts on an autonomous driving platform rather than a complete Apple car, though rumors continue to persist about the latter.
Samsung is just the latest company to receive permission to test autonomous technology on California roads. Besides Apple, the California Department of Motor Vehicles list of permit holders for its Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program includes Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car program), Tesla, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, BMW, Honda, Nvidia, Subaru, Baidu, Mercedes Benz, Delphi Automotive, Bosch and others.