[THE INVESTOR] BERLIN –- Jo Seong-jin, vice chairman and CEO of LG Electronics, hinted on Friday that the South Korean home appliance manufacturer wanted to forge a partnership with Nvidia to develop applications for autonomous driving.
The LG CEO told The Korea Herald on the first day of the IFA 2018 in Berlin that the company could join hands with autonomous driving solution companies like Nvidia that were leading solution developments for self-driving cars as part of efforts to expand its vehicle component business.
“Firms like Nvidia are taking the lead in developing autonomous driving solutions, we could consider purchasing their solutions in order to make better applications,” he said, without elaborating.
LG has been working on applications for self-driving including a next-generation telematics solution.
Late last year, the tech giant said its telematics division was partnering with Here Technologies, a global provider of digital mapping and location services, to provide high-precision map information. The company also develops next-generation displays for cars, using OLED technology, as well as algorithms that process moving images collected from cameras.
“Autonomous vehicles not only need the solutions for (complete) self-driving but also applications including high precision GPS mapping and displays that carry (all that information),” an official said in Seoul
Aside from selling motors for electric vehicles and infotainment systems for premium automaker brands, the LG CEO is eyeing autonomous driving, an area in which he believes the company can contribute to the connected car industry.
After making losses for the past five years, the VC business is striving to turn into the black this year.
“There are many ways to earn a surplus, and we are focusing on boosting sales of the VC business in the first place,” Jo said. “The company is paying great attention to the business.”
The LG chief will fly from Berlin to Wieselburg on Monday to visit ZKW’s headquarters Monday and meet with the automobile headlamp maker’s top brass for the first time after LG completed acquisition of the Austrian firm for 1.1 billion euros last month.
“I am visiting ZKW to welcome the new LG family and introduce myself to them in a bid to start working together from now on,” he said.
At IFA, Jo also said he believed open cooperation with top artificial intelligence players like Google and Amazon would help the device manufacturer gather data better and make it a stronger AI player.
“Our cooperation with Google and Amazon will help us accumulate data in our devices, and this will make LG a strong AI company,” the CEO said during a press conference Friday.
“Google and Amazon have an enormous amount of commonly open data, and we are collaborating with them under our ‘open’ strategy on AI,” he said. “In the initial stage, we are taking advantage of access to their data, but later on we will build our own data that is stored in Wi-Fi-enabled devices, which will be our possession.”
“New businesses could be created by combining the Google data with this data, and this will benefit consumers in the most effective manner,” he added.
The South Korean company is accelerating its transformation from a traditional home appliance manufacturer to an AI and robot technology business under the so-called “open strategy” that seeks open connectivity, open platform and open innovation with outside tech firms and developers.
“We started applying Wi-Fi to home appliances last year, connecting more than 10 million devices in total as of this year, and the number will continue rapidly rising,” he said. “Now we are adding AI to these connected devices starting with air conditioners, premium kitchen appliances and TVs. The category of Wi-Fi-based AI-powered home appliance products will get bigger and bigger.”
LG will step up the level of cooperation with Google and Amazon and also with some technology research institutes and universities like University of Toronto, according to the CEO.
“The company is not considering any mergers and acquisitions of sizable AI businesses at the moment,” he said.
By Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)