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Samsung’s plan to dominate the self-driving car industry

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Self-driving cars are coming, and we won’t have to wait nearly as long as we think. That’s what we heard from dozens of companies at CES 2018, including Samsung Electronics (SSNLF), which is vying for a significant chunk of what some estimate will be a $7 trillion market by 2050.  

The South Korean tech giant on Tuesday unveiled a new Android-like open platform for self-driving cars developed by its subsidiary, Harman International. While many other self-driving car platforms keep its software out of reach from outside companies, Harman is taking a different road with DRVLINE, hoping to find the fast lane by letting outside companies develop products and services for it.

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This new platform follows announcements in September that Samsung set up a strategic business unit within Harman focused solely on developing self-driving vehicles and advanced driver assistance technology. A $300 million Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund was also established to invest in new vehicle technologies.

Also at CES, Samsung unveiled an automotive camera system with collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. There’s also a new “digital cockpit” that lets drivers personalize how dashboards and panels look and what information they display based on data pulled from their mobile devices and the cloud — even if they don’t own them.

Samsung, Harman unveil driverless car components, digital cockpit at CES

The self-driving car market is expected to be a lucrative one in the decades ahead — a whopping 10 million self-driving cars could be on the road by 2020 — but it’s already proving incredibly competitive, with companies such as Uber, Ford (F), Intel (INTC), and Tesla (TSLA) throwing their hats in the ring. And just this week at CES, Chinese tech giant Baidu unveiled a major update to an open self-driving car platform of its own called Project Apollo that makes some of the same promises as Samsung. So it’s crucial for Samsung to attract more partners and quickly expand its reach.

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JP Mangalindan is the Chief Tech Correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Email story tips and musings to Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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