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Self-driving startup Wayve secures $1 billion funding

British startup Wayve announced on Tuesday that it successfully raised $1.05 billion in a Series C funding round
May 8, 2024

British startup Wayve has announced a remarkable achievement, raising $1.05 billion in an investment round led by Japan’s SoftBank. The investment is set to accelerate the growth of Wayve's self-driving car technology, marking a significant milestone for the Cambridge-based firm.

The Series C funding round saw the participation of new investor, U.S. chipmaker Nvidia, along with existing investor, software giant Microsoft, a major supporter of artificial intelligence firms. 

Wayve, founded in 2017, is among the many startups dedicated to enabling autonomous driving, a technology designed to allow cars to drive effectively without human intervention. Unlike Tesla, which manufactures its own cars, Wayve licenses its self-driving technology to other firms, including retailers and automakers.

At the core of Wayve's technology is its use of cameras and sensors to map out its environmental surroundings, ensuring that cars can safely navigate densely populated urban areas with minimal human intervention. The company is focused on developing “embodied AI'' technology for self-driving vehicles, featuring AI capable of understanding and adapting to the unpredictable realities of the physical world.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the news of Wayve’s latest funding round, stating that it is a “testament to our leadership in this industry.” 

“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,” said Alex Kendall, Wayve co-founder, and CEO.

The investment is not only a boost for Wayve but also for the UK tech industry, highlighting the country’s leadership in groundbreaking technological advancements. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated, “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.” 

Between 2018 and 2022, the self-driving vehicle sector generated £475 million (US$596 million) in direct investment in the UK and created 1,500 new jobs, according to the British government.

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