Strategic Partners

Samsung eyes autonomous car market

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Samsung Electronics expects strong growth in its audio and auto electronics unit Harman, which has put the company “firmly in the picture of the automotive industry” as it eyes the autonomous car market, its chief strategy officer told Reuters.

Samsung bought Harman last year for $8 billion. Harman, known for its audio speakers, has a large automotive business encompassing navigation services, on-board entertainment systems and vehicle networks as well.

“Now it’s almost 20 months, still not two years (since the purchase), but I would say the honeymoon is over. Now we are in a business,” Young Sohn, Samsung’s Silicon Valley-based president and chief strategy officer, told Reuters.

“The company (Harman) made its numbers, in terms of revenue growth and profit. And we continue to expect double-digit growth, which I think is really good. It firmly puts Samsung in the picture of the automotive industry,” he said.

As autonomous car technology develops, Sohn said Samsung was working with automobile companies on development of 5G networks, needed for autonomous driving. He cautioned that full autonomous driving is still a while away, although on a limited scale, it could happen “very soon” in some parts of China.

“So you will continue to see us invest, continue to spend, but right now the memory cycle is such that there is a bit of oversupply of NAND (memory) so we decided to slow down.”

Sohn has predicted that artificial intelligence will “disrupt everything as we know it, from publishing, all the way to travel … and the way we serve our food,” adding that he was optimistic about AI and that it will create more jobs.

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