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Wayve, a London-based developer of autonomous driving technology, today raised $200 million in Series B funding. Wayve has now raised more than $258 million since it was founded in 2017. The latest round was led by Eclipse Ventures. Microsoft also joined as an investor as Wayve uses the Azure cloud computing platform to scale its machine learning technology.
Instead of relying on a traditional autonomous driving stack, HD maps and hand-coded rules, Wayve said it is building a data-driven learned driver that can scale, adapt and generalise its driving intelligence to new places. Wayve takes a camera-first approach to its sensor suite and uses an end-to-end deep learning system. And like Tesla, Wayve doesn’t use more expensive LiDAR sensors.
Here’s how Wayve describes how its autonomous driving technology works:
“We model the world robustly with computer vision, learning a representation of the scene’s semantics, motion and geometry. We learn this representation jointly with learned planning and control algorithms, end-to-end. We build a number of intermediate outputs with multitask perception: semantic and instance segmentation, learned depth estimation, learned ego and scene motion, learned 3D detection, tracking and future prediction. We use surround cameras to perceive the scene, using recent advances in policy learning to learn motion planning for driving.”
Wayve has partnerships with Asda and Ocado, two leading grocers in the U.K. A select number of Ocado delivery vans outfitted with Wayve’s autonomous driving technology will be tested on urban delivery routes.
Wayve said the new funding will be used to grow its team, develop a Level 4+ 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 core autonomy platform.
“Today, we have all of the pieces in place to take what we have pioneered and drive AV2.0 forward,” said Alex Kendall, Co-founder and CEO, Wayve. “We have brought together world-class 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.”
“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,” said Seth Winterroth, Partner, Eclipse Ventures. “Wayve is breaking new ground by building AVs that can adapt to driving in new cities, previously unseen in training. As the leaders in this field, they have assembled an exceptional team of machine learning experts and AV veterans to drive AV2.0 to reality.”
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