HomeTech$1Bn ADAS/Driverless Tech U.K. Start-Up's Boost

$1Bn ADAS/Driverless Tech U.K. Start-Up’s Boost


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U.K. driverless technology start-up Wayve wins a $1.05 billion investment backed by major artificial intelligence players including Nvidia and Microsoft.

TechCrunch reports the investment, led by SoftBank Group, is the country’s largest AI fundraiser to date and sits among the top 20 AI investments globally. The company, founded in Cambridge in 2017, hopes to use the fresh capital injection to develop its assisted-driver and automated-driving capabilities with potential to expand globally.

Many an eyebrow is raised at the size of the investment considering the issues larger existing technology players, such as Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise, have been facing in the U.S. However, Wayve’s approach so far has been much more cautious, with its “end-to-end” self-driving system growing slowly out of driving through the tiny streets of Cambridge on a 2-seated microcar, the electric Renault Twizy.

Wayve calls its hardware-agnostic map-less product an “Embodied AI.” It plans to distribute its platform not just to automakers but also to robotics companies serving manufacturers in various industries, allowing use of the platform in a wide variety of real-world environments.

Wayve co-founder and CEO Alex Kendall tells TechCrunch that a “step change” has come with automakers fitting arrays of sensors on their products as standard. He adds: “Now their production vehicles are coming out with GPUs, surrounding cameras, radar, and of course the appetite to now bring AI onto, and enable, an accelerated journey from assisted to automated driving. So, this fundraise is a validation of our technological approach, and gives us the capital to go and turn this technology into product and bring this product to market.”

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