Born in Cambridge, Wayve is pioneering the intersection of artificial intelligence and mobile robotics using state of the art research in machine learning, computer vision and reinforcement learning for self-driving cars. In the recent development, the startup has announced a $20M (€18M) Series A funding round to launch a pilot fleet of autonomous vehicles in central London.
The investment round was led by Eclipse Ventures, with participation from Balderton Capital, existing investors, and several undisclosed preeminent leaders in machine learning and robotics. Notably, this is the first time a European self-driving car company has attracted premier Silicon Valley venture capital funding to lead a Series A investment.
AI with end-to-end deep learning!
Founded by Alex Kendall, Amar Shah, in 2017, this startup is building a full driving software system capable of complex driving using end-to-end deep learning, which can scale across diverse urban environments. As per the company claims, this unique end-to-end machine learning approach learns to drive in complex, never-seen-before urban environments.
Amar Shah, Wayve Co-Founder, and CEO:
As computational power and data continue to grow, learning-based approaches will become more inevitable, especially for mobile robotics. The human brain has evolved over millions of years; computers have only had a few decades, but are catching up quickly.
No physical sensors or hand-coded rules!
The company believes that the complexity of self-driving cars will be solved by better AI, not by more physical sensors and hand-coded rules. It’s worth mentioning that the company demonstrated the self-driving car back in Spring 2019, by navigating on roads it had never previously driven before.
Suranga Chandratillake, Partner at Balderton Capital, said:
The average human learns to drive in just 50 hours with visual input primarily. Once we have learned, we are capable of driving on roads around the world despite vastly differing traffic laws and cultural context. Wayve’s self-driving technology is the closest to this human approach to learning. The great advantage of solving the problem this way is that it is robust in the face of a global opportunity.
Tested on highly structured and modern roads
According to the company, this feat has been achieved using only cameras, a 2D map, and a unique, end-to-end, deep learning driving brain. Based out of London, Wayve tested the self-driving vehicle on highly structured and modern roads in the USA and China.
While these are “live” driving environments, such geographies lack the irregular, diverse, and complex streets of most other global cities. Wayve has successfully begun on-road public autonomous driving trials supported by insurance partner, Admiral.
Many experts believe that the first wave of autonomous cars for the public will be available by 2021. And when they do, we can expect some significant changes in automotive habits.
Image credits: Wayve
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