[IFA 2018] Not yet time for Samsung to take on autonomous driving: Harman CEO

By Song Su-hyun
  • Published : Sept 3, 2018 - 15:26
  • Updated : Sept 4, 2018 - 10:37

BERLIN -- It is too early to discuss the possibility of a foray by Samsung Electronics into the field of autonomous driving, according to Dinesh Paliwal, CEO of Harman International.

“We are studying a lot on autonomous driving solutions with Samsung, but that’s too far away,” said the Harman CEO on Friday at IFA 2018, which runs through Wednesday in Berlin. “It’s our long-term goal.”

As Samsung expands its presence in the auto industry, there has been speculation that the company might be involved in the development of self-driving cars.

Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal (Courtesy of Samsung Electronics)

“We have a synergy team between Samsung and Harman, which does a lot of studies on autonomous driving, looking at all opportunities,” Paliwal said.

Harman is an American subsidiary of Samsung, acquired in Feb. 2017, which designs “connected car” systems for automakers as well as sound systems for consumer electronics products.

The Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology recently formed a task force on autonomous driving in cooperation with the company’s IT and mobile communications division, according to an industry insider.

Samsung, however, officially denied the claim, possibly on concerns that such an announcement could undermine its ties with carmakers and impede Samsung’s business in the area of car components.

For the time being, cooperation between Samsung and Harman is focused on consumer electronics goods.

At the trade show, Paliwal met with Kim Hyun-suk, Samsung’s consumer electronics CEO, for a tour of Harman’s private exhibition booth.

Because the tech titan is integrating voice control into a range of its consumer electronics products, including its TVs and refrigerators, collaboration with Harman on sound technology is considered essential.

Samsung adopted Harman’s premium-quality AKG speaker in its Family Hub refrigerator, a model powered by artificial intelligence and destined for the North American market. The company has witnessed double-digit growth in sales with this high-end fridge, one of the most profitable products in the Samsung lineup.

“Collaboration with Harman will center on the home appliances and TVs because sound quality is getting very important as AI permeates into the consumer electronics sector,” said a Samsung official.

By Song Su-hyun, Korea Herald correspondent (