Wayve Raises Over $1 Billion to Bring Embodied AI to Autonomous Driving

Wayve Raises Over $1 Billion to Bring Embodied AI to Autonomous Driving

UK-based startup Wayve has secured $1.05 billion in Series C funding to accelerate their mission of bringing Embodied AI to autonomous driving. The round was led by SoftBank, with participation from new investor NVIDIA and existing backer Microsoft.

Founded in 2017, Wayve is pioneering an embodied AI-first approach they call "AV2.0" - using end-to-end deep learning models to enable vehicles to drive themselves, without relying on high-definition maps or complex rule-based systems.

Their technology enables vehicles to perceive, understand, and navigate any environment, enhancing safety and usability. Wayve's system, trained on delivery vehicles, differs from traditional autonomous driving by learning from human behavior in diverse, real-world settings. This enables their AI to adapt to unexpected situations and make more human-like decisions.

Last month the company unveiled LINGO-2, a closed-loop driving model that links vision, language, and action to help explain and determine driving behavior. Wayve says LINGO-2 is the first vision-language-action model (VLAM) to be tested on public roads and opens up a new dimension of control and customization for an autonomous driving experience.

"At Wayve, our vision is to develop autonomous technology that becomes a reality in millions of vehicles and earns people's trust by integrating seamlessly into their lives," said Wayve co-founder and CEO Alex Kendall. "This funding milestone shows the conviction that Embodied AI will address the challenges the industry has faced in scaling this technology."

Embodied AI refers to AI that can intelligently navigate and interact with the physical world. Wayve believes this will first take off in autonomous driving before expanding to other fields like robotics.

The funding will enable Wayve to fully develop and launch their first Embodied AI products in partnership with automakers and fleet operators. The initial focus will be an AI-based advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), with the aim of eventually enabling fully autonomous vehicles through over-the-air software updates as the AI models improve.

By starting with a scalable software-based approach that works with existing vehicle hardware, rather than trying to immediately jump to expensive fully autonomous taxis in limited areas, Wayve aims to bring autonomy to the mainstream market in a financially viable way. Strategic investors like SoftBank, NVIDIA, and Microsoft bring key resources in funding, compute technology, and cloud infrastructure to accelerate this vision.

With $1 billion in fresh capital, an AI-first technological approach, and major strategic backers, Wayve is positioned to be a leader in the race to bring Embodied AI to the roads. The autonomous vehicle industry continues to be reshaped, now with AI leading the way.

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