By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> 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 <AAPL.O> 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 U.S. self-driving car landscape, Samsung will jostle with its friends and foes. Besides Apple, it will join Waymo, a division of Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O>, 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.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)