HomeTechUK startup Wayve raises $1bn for self-driving vehicle AI tech

UK startup Wayve raises $1bn for self-driving vehicle AI tech


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British AI company Wayve has raised $1.1bn (£840m) in funding to develop the next generation of AI-powered self-driving vehicles.

Wayve will use this investment to develop and launch the first “embodied AI” technology for self-driving vehicles in the UK

The funding is backed by SoftBank Group, Nvidia and Microsoft, and is the biggest investment in a UK AI company to date.

Wayve will use this investment to develop and launch the first “embodied AI” technology for self-driving vehicles in the UK. This will exceed existing technology capabilities by enabling vehicles to learn from and interact with a real-world environment, including the ability to navigate and learn from situations that do not follow strict patterns or rules, such as unexpected actions by drivers or pedestrians.

Wayve said that its advancements in self-driving vehicle technology had been supported by the UK’s Code of Practice: Automated Vehicle Trialling, which sets out a clear framework to support and promote the safe trailing of self-driving vehicle technology.

Alex Kendall, co-founder and CEO of Wayve, said: “The UK’s progressive testing framework has supported our rapid development of cutting-edge AI, and we’ve been pleased to work with the Government on the Automated Vehicles Bill which gives investors confidence that the UK is truly a leader in AI and AVs.

“This investment will help us launch our embodied AI products and expand our operations globally. It sends a crucial signal to the market of the strength of the UK’s AI ecosystem, and we look forward to watching more AI companies here thrive and scale.”

The investment comes as the UK’s Automated Vehicle Bill is set to become law in the coming weeks, paving the way for firms such as Wayve to scale up and deploy their self-driving technology to increase safety and unlock a market expected to be worth up to £42bn.

Under the Bill’s provisions, all self-driving vehicles will be required to undergo robust safety testing before they are permitted to drive on UK roads. The Bill will also ensure clear legal liability when a vehicle is driving itself by creating new legal entities responsible for self-driving vehicles.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Self-driving cars will revolutionise road travel – making it safer and more convenient for everyone.

“Our Automated Vehicles Bill paves the way for their safe use in the UK, and opens the door for investment into innovative British companies like Wayve – putting the UK at the forefront of a growing global industry. This is an important part of our plan to grow the economy and create high quality jobs into the future.”

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