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Samsung secures self-driving car permit in California

Its parent company in May secured permission from South Korean authorities to test a self-driving car fitted with its own sensors and software systems.

People walk past the logo of Samsung Electronics at the company's headquarters in Seoul on 30 July 2015. Picture: AFP/Jung Yeon-Je.

SAN FRANCISCO – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Thursday it has received a permit to test self-driving vehicles in California, marking the entry of the world’s largest smart phone maker four months after iPhone maker and arch rival Apple Inc. received a permit.

Its parent company in May secured permission from South Korean authorities to test a self-driving car fitted with its own sensors and software systems. At that time, South Korean officials said the company planned to use the car to develop a self-driving car algorithm that could drive in adverse weather.

In a statement to Reuters, Samsung did not say what precisely what it planned to test in the United States but said it secured the permit “in pursuit of a smarter, safer transportation future.”

The company, part of a massive conglomerate that makes everything from washing machines to heavy machinery, said it has “no plans to enter the car-manufacturing business.”

With the foray into the US self-driving car landscape, Samsung will jostle with its friends and foes. Besides Apple, it will join Waymo, a division of Alphabet Inc., which supplies the Android operating system that runs on Samsung’s phones.

Samsung has a range of other opportunities for growth in the self-driving car business. Earlier this year, the company closed its $8 billion purchase of car audio maker Harman International Industries, giving it a wide foot print in so-called connected car technologies.

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