Wayve Raises $105 Billion led by SoftBank to develop Embodied AI products for Automated Driving

Wayve, the market leader in Embodied artificial intelligence (AI) for autonomous driving, is thrilled to announce the successful closure of $1.05 billion in Series C funding.

May 31, 2024 - 13:02
Jun 8, 2024 - 11:58
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Wayve, the market leader in Embodied artificial intelligence (AI) for autonomous driving, is thrilled to announce the successful closure of $105 billion in Series C funding. This round was led by SoftBank Group (“SoftBank”), with contributions from new investor NVIDIA and existing investor Microsoft. This investment will accelerate Wayve’s mission to reimagine autonomous mobility through embodied intelligence.

  • Wayve announces a $105 billion Series C investment round led by SoftBank Group (“SoftBank”), with contributions from new investor NVIDIA and existing investor Microsoft, to accelerate its mission to reimagine autonomous mobility through embodied intelligence. 
  • Embodied AI, which integrates advanced AI into vehicles and robots to transform how machines interact with, comprehend, and learn from human behavior in real-world environments, is paving the way for greater usability and safety in autonomous driving systems.
  • Founded in 2017, British AI company Wayve is a pioneer in Embodied AI for autonomous driving, having been the first to develop and test an end-to-end (e2e) Deep Learning autonomous driving system on public roads. Today, the company is building foundation models for autonomy, similar to a ‘GPT for driving,’ that can empower any vehicle to see, think, and drive through any environment.
  • This investment supports Wayve in fully developing and launching the first Embodied AI products for production vehicles. As Wayve’s core AI model advances, these products will enable OEMs to efficiently upgrade cars to higher levels of driving automation, from L2+ assisted driving to L4 automated driving.

Embodied AI represents the next frontier of AI innovation, going beyond Generative AI and large language models. The integration of Embodied AI into vehicles and robots will lead to a paradigm shift in how machines interact with and learn from human behavior in real-world environments. This innovation holds tremendous potential to enhance the usability and safety of autonomous driving systems, empowering them with the intelligence to confidently navigate situations that do not follow strict patterns or rules, such as unexpected actions by drivers, pedestrians, or environmental elements.

Founded in 2017, Wayve has emerged as a trailblazer in the field of Embodied AI for autonomous driving. Notably, Wayve was the first to develop and test an end-to-end (e2e) AI autonomous driving system on public roads. This pioneering effort paved the way for an industry-wide shift towards AI, coined ‘AV2.0’. Through their long-standing work, Wayve has successfully developed foundation models for autonomy, similar to a ‘GPT for driving,’ that can empower any vehicle to perceive its surroundings and safely drive through diverse environments.

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The integration of Embodied AI into vehicles and robots will lead to a paradigm shift in how machines interact with and learn from human behavior in real-world environments.

Wayve has dedicated years of extensive research and development to establishing itself as the market leader in AV2.0. They have developed hardware-agnostic AI driving models for mapless autonomous driving and a suite of innovative technologies, such as fleet learning, data infrastructure, evaluation, and simulation platforms designed to 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 that bridge the gap between raw data and unparalleled driving capabilities. Moreover, the company’s research on multimodal and generative models, known as LINGO and GAIA, is driving the automotive industry towards a future where AI in vehicles can offer 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: 
“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.”

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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.”

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