Samsung Joins Everyone Else, Starts Testing Self-Driving Cars In California

Image courtesy of Samuel M. Livingston

Putting “California” and “cars” together in one sentence evokes a nice mental image of a convertible cruising down the scenic coastal curves of state Route 101. These days, though, the big thing in the Golden State is less about drivers having fun in the sun, and more about taking drivers out of the picture altogether.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has updated the list of participants in its autonomous vehicle program, Android Headlines reports, and it seems Samsung — best known in the U.S. for phones, TVs, and appliances — has decided to join the fray.

This isn’t Samsung’s first foray into autopilot; the company got permission to start testing self-driving cars in its home country of South Korea earlier this year.

Samsung isn’t starting to make the cars, though, which is probably for the best given that some of its other products — phones, washing machines — have had a marked tendency toward exploding in recent years. Instead, Samsung is likely to be partnering with its fellow Korean company Hyundai for the actual cars, the same as it has done overseas.

Meanwhile, the robot-driven streets of the western states are starting to get crowded. Samsung is a latecomer to this game: Apple, Lyft, and Uber are all running autonomous vehicle road tests. And Google has of course been testing autonomous vehicles for years, to the point where it spun the self-driving car project off into an entire business unit called Waymo in late 2016.

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