Wayve secures $1bn in funding for AI-powered autonomous vehicles 


Investors include SoftBank, Microsoft, Nvidia, and others 


UK self-driving car startup Wayve has secured $1.05 billion in investments to develop its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered vehicles, led by Japanese bank Softbank and with1notable contributions from Nvidia and Microsoft. 

Founded in 2017, Wayve develops AI foundation models to help enable autonomous driving. Its technology equips vehicles with a ‘robot brain’ that can learn from and interact with real-world environments. Known as ‘embodied AI’, the technology will help self-driving vehicles react to situations that do not follow set patterns or rules, such as unexpected events from pedestrians.  

“AI is revolutionising mobility,” said Kentaro Matsui, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers in a press release. 

“Vehicles can now interpret their surroundings like humans, enabling enhanced decision-making that promises higher safety standards. The potential of this type of technology is transformative; it could eliminate 99% of traffic accidents. SoftBank Group is delighted to be at the forefront of this effort with Wayve,” he continued. 

“By utilizing Microsoft’s supercomputing capabilities and cloud computing technology, copilot-enabled developer platform, enterprise data management applications, and leading AI model commercialization expertise, Wayve can deliver and scale innovative Embodied AI solutions that enable safer and more accessible autonomous driving experiences,” said Dominik Wee, Corporate Vice President of Manufacturing and Mobility at Microsoft. 

The deal has caught the attention of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who said in a government press release that “the fact that a homegrown, British business has secured the biggest investment yet in a UK AI company is a testament to our leadership in this industry.” 

The news of the investment comes as the UK’s Automated Vehicles Bill, which will regulate the use of automated vehicles in the UK is in the final stages processing, having sailed though both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  

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