Samsung is taking aim at South Korean rival LG Electronics as it looks to expand into the automotive business. The company on Wednesday announced the creation of a new business unit that'll focus on developing components for in-car entertainment, satellite navigation and autonomous driving systems.

Branching off to explore other markets makes a lot of sense for Samsung at this stage.

Samsung's smartphone arm hasn't been performing as well as anticipated in recent memory. Just a few weeks ago, the company appointed Dongjin Koh as its new mobile chief, sending JK Shin to work on the company's long-term mobile strategy.

The reason I mention that is because, as Engadget correctly points out, self-driving cars share a lot of technology with smartphones. Samsung's expertise in areas like GPS, mobile computing, battery technology, wireless connectivity and more could easily carry over to autonomous vehicle production.

With the tech industry as interested as it is in the automotive industry, Samsung could stand to make a lot of money as a components supplier to companies looking to build self-driving cars. Heck, it wouldn't be unheard of to see Samsung supply Apple with parts for its vehicle project, just as it does today with smartphone components.

As a component supplier versus an actual builder of self-driving cars, Samsung would assume much less risk. The strategy could allow them to sit back and see how the market develops for a few years and then decide at a later date if jumping in as a builder makes sense.

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