Wayve autonomy project raises $1bn from software heavyweights

UK AD firm will gain access to Nvidia and Microsoft knowhow as it pushes to commercialise autonomy software

Wayve autonomy project raises $1bn from software heavyweights
Wayve has ben conducting road trials in the UK since 2018

UK autonomous driving (AD) firm Wayve has raised $1.05bn from investors including computing firms Nvidia and Microsoft, which the company says "supports Wayve in fully developing and launching the first embodied AI products for production vehicles".

Wayve has been conducting trials of various levels of its autonomy software on UK roads since 2018 with its fleet of BEVs, and has signed partnerships with a handful UK retail delivery fleets. However, the company is yet to commercially launch its core software — which it calls the first "embodied AI", or AV2.0 — autonomous driving solution, and is still at a stage of improving its AI models.

"The company will also focus on scaling its foundation models, advancing embodied AI research, and building an industry-leading AV2.0 platform with reliable simulation, measurement, and active learning tools for automotive applications," Wayve says.

"Finally, funds will enable Wayve to expand operations and partnerships in new markets, building geographically diverse data assets and attracting global talent," the company adds.

Efforts towards Level 4 and above AD is split into two technology camps, with most players opting for sensor-based Lidar systems. But BEV sales leader Tesla is attempting L4 autonomy with only the use of cameras to read the car's surroundings.

Wayve aims to differentiate itself by incorporating a flexible suite of sensors, which the company says "implicitly learns to balance the strengths and weaknesses of sensors" in various configurations. As such, the company calls its technology "hardware agnostic", but says it is still trying to design an "optimal sensor suite".

"Since the start we have held a contrarian belief that end-to-end AI will make autonomy possible. I am excited about this massive endorsement of our vision and the opportunity to launch our first embodied AI product for automotive," says Wayve CEO Alex Kendall.
EV inFocus - Google News
Read full articles from EV inFocus and explore endless topics, magazines and more on your phone or tablet with Google News.

High level autonomy is capital intensive due to the need for supercomputing at large scales. But the funding agreement will see Wayve gain access to Microsoft's supercomputing and cloud computing capabilities. Nvidia microchips are also in demand across the autonomy industry, with Tesla also relying on significant amounts of Nvidia hardware for its Full Self Driving software.

Securing the backing of Nvidia and Microsoft, two AI and computing heavyweights, is a vote of confidence in the potential of Wayve's approach to autonomy. Funding is also provided by Japanese investment firm Softbank, which now takes a seat on Wayve's board.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to EV inFocus.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.

Insider Focus LTD (Company #14789403)