Samsung’s self-driving car project is now eligible to hit the road in the US.
The California DMV just gave the South Korean tech company permission to test autonomous vehicles on the state’s public streets, signaling a new expansion of Samsung’s self-driving program.
The agency keeps a running tally of all the companies with permission to test self-driving tech on its website, which has become a veritable who’s who of the autonomous development space. Most major automakers are on the list, along with tech companies that are working on their own systems like Waymo, Apple, and Nvidia.
Samsung’s driverless car aspirations haven’t been nearly as publicized as many of the other companies racing to develop autonomous systems. South Korean officials gave Samsung permission to test self-driving cars on public roads back in May, but little else is known for certain about the program.
Samsung is thought to use Hyundai cars equipped with its own sensor package, similar to how Apple has outfitted Lexus RX450h SUVs for its autonomous testing. Samsung’s vehicles will likely be used to collect valuable on-road data to start, which will then be used to hone its driverless system.
The move to the US won’t put Samsung at the head of the self-driving development pack; rivals like Waymo have likely collected millions more miles of data, and are on their way to implementing the tech for consumers IRL. Carving out a presence in the U.S. will likely give Samsung’s program some important street cred, however, and will help to place it on the right path for development as the systems mature over the next few years.