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Samsung gets self-driving car permit in California

The tech giant joins a list of rivals allowed to test autonomous vehicles, including Apple and Waymo.

Samsung joins a list of rivals allowed to test self-driving cars in California. 
Getty Images

Samsung may begin testing self-driving cars in California.

At least, the South Korean tech giant could, if it wanted to. Samsung on Wednesday obtained a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous cars, according to the DMV's website.

Samsung joins a group of other tech companies already on the list, including Apple, Uber, Nvidia and Waymo, the self-driving car arm of Google's parent company, Alphabet. There are also several automakers on the list, including Ford, BMW, Volkswagen and Tesla.

Samsung confirmed the news, but said it doesn't plan to actually manufacture self-driving cars. 

"As a global leader in connectivity, memory, and sensor technology, Samsung Electronics looks forward to participating in California's Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program and joining in the pursuit of a smarter, safer transportation future," a Samsung spokesman said in a statement. "While we have no plans to enter the car-manufacturing business, we are excited to help develop and deliver the next generation of automotive innovation."

The company received a permit from the South Korean government to test autonomous cars in that country in May. Last year, it bought a car tech company called Harman for $8 billion.

Self-driving cars have been the latest obsession for Silicon Valley. Uber and Waymo have been locked in a bitter legal battle over alleged stolen trade secrets. The case could have a major impact on the future of the self-driving car industry.

The fervor over self-driving cars is only going to increase. Next week, the US House of representatives is reportedly set to vote on legislation around the testing of autonomous vehicles. The bill would allow for new federal rules that would make it easier for tech companies and automakers to deploy the cars.