About a year ago a rumor of Apple building a car surfaced and since then there have been many reports on the subject including one that we ran in April about a small secret Apple team in Germany representing Project Titan. Rumors surfaced shortly thereafter that Samsung too wanted to push into the auto technology which would mark their second foray into the auto business after selling off their debt ridden unit to Renault in 2010. One of Samsung's divisions has been working on car batteries for years but Samsung Electronics only announced that it would begin manufacturing electronics parts for the automotive industry last December. Now in August, a Bloomberg rumor stated that Samsung will acquire Fiat's auto parts unit for $3 billion to make a big push back into this sector once again.
A Korean report last Friday noted that "On a group-wide basis, Samsung has already formed joint development and partnership relations with Magneti Marelli, including the areas of display (Samsung Display) and automobile camera (Samsung Electro-Mechanics – See below). This news came in less than one month after Samsung Electronics acquired a stake in an electric car maker BYD.
On Sunday the Korea Times wrote that "Samsung Electronics is shifting its business focus from business growth to profits as it prepares for a transition to the post-smartphone age under the leadership of Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong.
Samsung went on to state that they identified car-components as its next focus and is in talks with Fiat-Chrysler to acquire the automaker's parts division ― Magneti Marelli ― for up to $3 billion.
For years Apple and many other smartphone OEM's have used Samsung parts in their devices. With Apple considering a move into electric vehicles, it wouldn't surprise me to learn down the road that an Apple vehicle used Samsung's automotive parts. Samsung understands electronics and could bring a wealth of expertise to this new area that could assist an Apple vehicle come to market quicker.
Samsung is already working on a series of next-gen parts to support Security and Authentication, for example, with a smart rear-view mirror and more. The Samsung patent application was published earlier this summer.
In Samsung's patent FIG. 11 noted above, we're able to see a camera #931 mounted in a rear-view mirror that collects a human facial image, noting that the camera may be arranged or positioned at alternate locations as well.
An ECG electrode #932 could be mounted in a steering wheel, for example, that could collect an ECG signal. And a tensile force sensor @933 could be mounted in a seat belt, for example, that could collect a tensile force signal.
A processor of the vehicle may receive or obtain the collected biosignals, for example, the collected human facial image, the collected ECG signal, and the collected tensile force signal, and extract a heartbeat feature or a respiration feature from each of the biosignals. The processor may further process the extracted heartbeat feature or the extracted respiration feature, determine whether the biosignals are generated from a same living body based on a consistent level between the processed heartbeat feature and the processed respiration feature, and determine or verify the authenticity of a user's identity based on the processed heartbeat or respiration feature and/or human facial image.
Going forward Patently Mobile will report on any further inventions of interest on this front because of the potential of Apple working with Samsung on parts for a future electric car.
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