Wayve has secured an investment of over 1 billion GBP to develop AI technology for self-driving vehicles, marking the largest-ever investment in a UK AI company.

Backed by SoftBank Group, NVIDIA and Microsoft, Wayve will use the funds to develop and launch the UK’s first ’embodied AI’ technology for self-driving vehicles.

Vote of confidence in UK economy as British AI company Wayve secures over $1 billion to develop AI for self-driving vehicles
Vote of confidence in UK economy as British AI company Wayve secures over $1 billion to develop AI for self-driving vehicles

Embodied AI enables self-driving vehicles to interact and learn from the real-world environment. This includes the ability to navigate and learn from unusual edge-case scenarios that do not follow strict patterns, such as unexpected actions by drivers or pedestrians. This therefore goes beyond the capabilities of existing technologies in autonomous vehicles.

The recently announced investment thus promotes the UK as a leader in this emerging industry. By 2035, the self-driving vehicle industry in the UK is expected to be worth 42 billion GBP.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

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 company has secured the biggest investment yet in a UK AI start-up 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 start-ups 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.

Wayve was founded in the UK in 2017. It is developing self-driving vehicle technology with support from the UK’s Code of Practice: Automated Vehicle Trialling framework.

This investment comes as the UK’s Automated Vehicle Bill is set to conclude its passage through parliament in the coming weeks. The bill will pave the way for companies such as Wayve to scale up and deploy their self-driving technology.

Alex Kendall, Co-founder and CEO of Wayve said:

The UK has a rich and inspiring AI heritage, which lives on today with top talent, world-class universities, and innovation-friendly regulation, bolstered by events like the AI Summit. Today, we are proud to contribute to this legacy with our announcement of a $1.05bn Series C investment round, the largest-ever AI fundraise in UK history.

The UK’s progressive testing framework has supported our rapid development of cutting-edge AI, and we’ve been pleased to work with the Government on the Automated Vehicles Bill which gives investors confidence that the UK is truly a leader in AI and AVs.

This investment will help us launch our Embodied AI products and expand our operations globally. It sends a crucial signal to the market of the strength of the UK’s AI ecosystem, and we look forward to watching more AI companies here thrive and scale.


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