Wayve’s AI Technology Secures $1.05 Billion in Funding

The TDR Three Key Takeaways regarding Wayve and SoftBank:

  1. Wayve’s AV2.0 tech secures a $1.05B investment, showcasing the UK’s AI leadership.
  2. Wayve’s AI technology, backed by SoftBank, scales for commercial deployment.
  3. SoftBank-backed Wayve develops a Level 4+ prototype for self-driving passenger vehicles.

Wayve, the UK-based autonomous vehicle startup, recently achieved a significant milestone by raising $1.05 billion in funding, which is the largest known AI investment in Europe to date. The funding, led by SoftBank and supported by companies like Microsoft and Nvidia, highlights the UK’s leadership in AI and the growing interest in self-driving technology. The company’s “embodied AI” technology focuses on learning from real-world surroundings, setting it apart from conventional AI models.

Wayve’s innovative approach is known as AV2.0 technology, which is designed specifically for fleet operators. This technology combines a camera-first approach with an embedded AI that continually learns from driving data provided by partner fleets, such as Ocado Group, Asda, and DPD. This camera-first approach is more cost-effective and adaptable, positioning Wayve as a key player in the field of autonomous vehicles.

The funding led by SoftBank and supported by Microsoft and Nvidia marks a significant transition for Wayve, from proving its core technology to scaling for commercial deployment. The company has already partnered with companies like Ocado and Asda for last-mile delivery and plans to expand globally. Despite challenges related to safety and regulation, Wayve’s innovation and partnerships position it well for future success.

Wayve co-founder and CEO Alex Kendall expressed his excitement about the funding, stating, “Now their production vehicles are coming out with GPUs, surrounding cameras, radar, and of course the appetite to 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 a product and bring this product to market.” Kendall sees embodied AI playing a definitive role in the future of AI, pushing pioneers to “build better” and “build further” to achieve “the next big breakthroughs.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also praised the investment, saying, “From the first electric light bulb or the World Wide Web, to AI and self-driving cars — the UK has a proud record of being at the forefront of some of the biggest technological advancements in history.”

Wayve’s new funding will be used to grow its team, develop a Level 4+ prototype for passenger vehicles and delivery vans, scale its deployments on partner fleets for last-mile delivery pilots, and develop the data infrastructure to improve its core autonomy platform. To keep up to date with all of TDR’s research and news, subscribe to our daily Baked In newsletter.

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