London-based Wayve, a company that uses end-to-end deep learning to develop artificial intelligence capable of complex driving, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $200M (approx €176.39M) in its Series B round of funding.
With this development, the company has raised a total funding of $258M. The raised capital will help Wayve to scale and deploy its next-generation autonomous technology globally.
Investors in this round
The round was led by Eclipse Ventures, a long-time supporter of Wayve. The investment also saw participation from new investors 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.
Wayve is using Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, to scale its machine learning platform. Azure is providing the compute and storage capabilities required to run autonomous driving development and testing workloads, and conduct machine learning experimentation to improve autonomy performance.
Strategic investor Ocado Group and a list of angel investors including AI and industrial leaders such as Sir Richard Branson, Rosemary Leith, Linda Levinson, David Richter, Pieter Abbeel, and Yann LeCun also participated in the round.
Seth Winterroth, Partner at Eclipse Ventures, says, “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.”
“A new approach to self-driving: AV2.0”
Founded in 2017 by Alex Kendall and Amar Shah, Wayve develops a fully autonomous driving system that is data-driven at every layer. It uses end-to-end deep learning to develop artificial intelligence capable of complex driving that can scale across diverse urban environments.
The company says, “We are pioneering the AI software, lean hardware, and fleet learning platform for AV 2.0: a next-generation autonomous driving system that can adapt to new driving domains globally.”
The AV2.0 technology offers a lean, camera-first sensing suite with an end-to-end deep learning system that continually learns from petabyte-scale driving data provided by Wayve’s partner fleets, including Ocado Group, Asda, and DPD.
In simple terms, Wayve’s AV2.0 technology can learn how to drive in one city and then apply that knowledge to new places it’s never been to. While other AV technologies work only on specific mapped streets or testing areas, Wayve’s system can go from driving in London to driving in another city without the need to be re-engineered. The company aims to be the first to deploy autonomy in 100 cities.
Wayve claims the proceeds from this round will enable it 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 pilots, and develop the data infrastructure to improve its autonomy platform at fleet scale.
Alex Kendall says, “Today, we have all of the pieces in place to take what we have pioneered and drive AV2.0 forward. We have brought together 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.”
According to the company, achieving these targets will improve the accessibility of AV technology, allowing more businesses and individuals to benefit from safer, sustainable and reliable forms of transportation.