AI approach to vehicle autonomy brings $200m to Wayve

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A London-based start-up pioneering an AI led approach to autonomous vehicles has announced $200m Series B funding backed by global financial and strategic investors.

Wayve
Ocado vans (Image: Ocado & Wayve)

Wayve’s advanced deep learning and camera-first technology is designed to adapt to new, unstructured, highly complex environments without the need for pre-programming, human-designed rules, or high-definition mapping. The company’s AV2.0 technology continually learns from petabyte-scale driving data provided by Wayve's partner fleets, including Ocado Group, Asda, and DPD.

In a statement, Alex Kendall, Co-founder and CEO, Wayve said: “We were the first team to develop the scientific breakthroughs in deep learning to build autonomous driving technology that can easily scale to new markets using a data-learned approach.

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“Today, we have all of the pieces in place to take what we have pioneered and drive AV2.0 forward. We have brought together world-class strategic partners in transportation, grocery delivery and compute, along with the best capital resources to scale our core autonomy platform, trial products with our commercial fleet partners, and build the infrastructure to scale AV2.0 globally.”

This latest round brings total equity raised to over $258m. Wayve will use the new investment to continue to grow its team, develop a Level 4+ AV prototype for passenger vehicles and delivery vans, scale its deployments on partner fleets to commence last-mile delivery trials, and develop the data infrastructure to improve its core autonomy platform at fleet scale.

Eclipse Ventures led the round with participation from new investors including D1 Capital Partners, Baillie Gifford, Moore Strategic Ventures and Linse Capital, as well as additional support from Microsoft and Virgin, and early-stage investors Compound and Balderton Capital. They join strategic investor Ocado Group and angel investors that include Sir Richard Branson.

Seth Winterroth, partner, Eclipse Ventures said: “As the industry struggles to solve self-driving with traditional robotics, it is becoming increasingly clear that AV2.0 is the right pathway to build a scalable driving intelligence that can help commercial fleet operators deploy autonomy faster. Wayve is breaking new ground by building AVs that can adapt to driving in new cities, previously unseen in training.”

“We believe Wayve’s innovative AV2.0 technology has significant advantages over rules-based AV approaches, which can be limited by edge cases and a lack of modularity,” added Jeff Lerman of D1 Capital Partners.In addition, we believe Wayve’s fleet partnerships enable high quality data collection at scale that serves as a competitive advantage.”