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Samsung cleared to test autonomous vehicles in Calif.

A Renault Samsung Motors Twizy electric car at the 2017 Seoul auto show in March. Samsung said Thursday it plans to test self-driving vehicles in the United States “in pursuit of a smarter, safer transportation future.” Photo credit: REUTERS

Samsung Electronics Co. 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. 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 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 friends and foes. Besides Apple, it will join Waymo, a division of Alphabet Inc., 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 vehicle 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.

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