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Wayve Raises Over $1 Billion Led by SoftBank to Develop Embodied AI Products for Automated Driving

Wayve, the British AI company leading the charge in autonomous driving through Embodied AI, proudly announces a $1.05 billion Series C funding round. This milestone investment was led by SoftBank Group (“SoftBank”), with significant contributions from new investor NVIDIA and existing investor Microsoft. The funds will accelerate Wayve’s mission to redefine autonomous mobility with advanced embodied intelligence.

Embodied AI is transforming the landscape of AI by integrating sophisticated intelligence into vehicles and robots. This groundbreaking technology enables machines to understand, interact with, and learn from human behavior in real-world scenarios, thereby enhancing the usability and safety of autonomous driving systems.

Founded in 2017, Wayve has pioneered Embodied AI in autonomous driving, being the first to develop and test an end-to-end deep learning autonomous driving system on public roads. Today, Wayve is creating foundational models for autonomy, akin to a ‘GPT for driving,’ empowering any vehicle to perceive, think, and navigate through diverse environments.

This significant investment will support Wayve in fully developing and launching the first Embodied AI products for production vehicles. As Wayve’s core AI model advances, these products will allow OEMs to efficiently upgrade vehicles to higher levels of driving automation, from L2+ assisted driving to L4 fully automated driving.

Wayve, the leader in Embodied AI for autonomous driving, is excited to announce the successful closure of $1.05 billion in Series C funding. This round was led by SoftBank Group, with contributions from new investor NVIDIA and existing investor Microsoft. This funding will accelerate Wayve’s mission to revolutionize autonomous mobility with embodied intelligence.

Embodied AI is the next frontier in AI innovation, surpassing Generative AI and large language models. By embedding advanced AI into vehicles and robots, Embodied AI is set to revolutionize how machines interact with and learn from human behavior in real-world environments. This technology promises to enhance the usability and safety of autonomous driving systems, enabling them to handle unpredictable situations such as unexpected actions by drivers, pedestrians, or environmental elements.

Since its inception in 2017, Wayve has been a trailblazer in Embodied AI for autonomous driving. It was the first to develop and test an end-to-end AI autonomous driving system on public roads, leading the industry towards an AI-driven future termed ‘AV2.0’. Wayve’s foundation models for autonomy, similar to a ‘GPT for driving,’ empower vehicles to perceive their surroundings and drive safely in various environments.

Wayve has invested years in extensive research and development to establish itself as the market leader in AV2.0. The company has developed hardware-agnostic AI driving models for mapless autonomous driving and a suite of innovative technologies, including fleet learning, data infrastructure, evaluation, and simulation platforms. These tools rapidly enhance their AI models using real-world and simulated data.

By leveraging Wayve’s advanced proprietary tools, OEMs and fleet owners can generate valuable data assets, bridging the gap between raw data and unparalleled driving capabilities. Additionally, Wayve’s research on multimodal and generative models, known as LINGO and GAIA, is steering the automotive industry towards a future where AI in vehicles offers advanced features like intuition, language-responsive interfaces, personalized driving styles, and co-piloting to enhance the automated driving experience.

Alex Kendall, Co-founder and CEO of Wayve, stated, “At Wayve, our vision is to develop autonomous technology that not only becomes a reality in millions of vehicles but also earns people’s trust by seamlessly integrating into their everyday lives to unlock extraordinary value. This significant funding milestone highlights our team’s unwavering conviction that Embodied AI will address the long-standing challenges the industry has faced in scaling this technology to everyone, everywhere. Our collaboration with SoftBank, NVIDIA, and Microsoft will help advance our mission to redefine driving with AI at the core. This investment will enable us to develop and launch our first Embodied AI products for the automotive industry, empowering OEMs to provide consumers with trustworthy and beneficial automated driving experiences.”

Kentaro Matsui, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, Head of the New Business Office at SoftBank Group and Board Member at Wayve:
“AI is revolutionizing mobility. 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, as advanced intelligence redefines mobility and connectivity, contributing to a more convenient and safer society.”

Rishi Dhall, Vice President of Automotive Business at NVIDIA:
“Wayve is pioneering new AI applications for their next-generation AV2.0 approach, built on NVIDIA DRIVE Orin and DRIVE Thor, which uses the new NVIDIA Blackwell architecture designed for transformer, LLM, and Generative AI workloads. Together, we can help enable self-driving vehicles that deliver the intelligence, dependability, and skill of the best human drivers.”

Dominik Wee, Corporate Vice President of Manufacturing and Mobility at Microsoft:
“Microsoft is pleased to be working with Wayve to develop and deploy Wayve’s end-to-end AI autonomous driving products for automotive enterprise customers. 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.”

This Series C investment will enable Wayve to fully develop and launch the first Embodied AI products for production vehicles. Wayve’s hardware-agnostic, mapless solutions allow OEMs to upgrade cars to higher levels of driving automation as their AI models progress. The company will also scale its foundation models, advance Embodied AI research, and build an industry-leading AV2.0 Platform with reliable simulation, measurement, and active learning tools for automotive applications. Additionally, the funds will support Wayve’s expansion into new markets, creating geographically diverse data assets and attracting global talent.

Prime Minister, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP:
“From the first electric light bulb or the World Wide Web to AI and self-driving cars, the UK has a proud record of being at the forefront of some of the biggest technological advancements in history.

“I’m incredibly proud that the UK is the home for pioneers like Wayve who are breaking ground as they develop the next generation of AI models for self-driving cars. 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 and that our plan for the economy is working.

“We are leaving no stone unturned to create the economic conditions for businesses to grow and thrive in the UK. We already have the third highest number of AI companies and private investment in AI in the world, and this announcement anchors the UK’s position as an AI superpower.”

As part of the final transaction, SoftBank has joined Wayve’s Board of Directors.

For more information about Wayve and its innovative approach to Embodied AI for automated driving, please visit www.wayve.ai.

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