Autonomous vehicle start-up Wayve raises $200 million

Self-driving technology start-up Wayve has raised $200 million from investors to grow its autonomous driving technology globally and launch more pilot projects with commercial fleet partners.

UK online grocery technology company Ocado is an investor in Wayve and has previously announced an autonomous delivery trial with the company.

Wayve is also running an autonomous delivery trial with British supermarket chain Asda in London.

The latest Series B funding round brings the company’s total fundraising to $258 million and includes new investments from venture capital firms D1 Capital Partners, Moore Strategic Ventures and Linse Capital, plus fresh capital from existing investors including Microsoft.

London-based Wayve’s technology relies on machine learning that uses camera sensors fitted on the outside of the vehicle, instead of the conventional method of relying on detailed digital maps and coding to tell vehicles how to operate.

“Instead of telling a car how to drive we’ve built a system that learns to drive and can learn to do intelligent things,” Wayve CEO Alex Kendall said.

He added that the company’s test vehicles have learned how to correctly navigate through traffic lights in London – knowing how traffic lights function, which lane to be in and how to interact with other vehicles even if they are breaking the rules.

Last year Wayve took vehicles to five other UK cities and drove through traffic lights without ever having operated in those cities before.

“Our system was able to take the concept of traffic lights from London and apply it everywhere,” Kendall said. “That’s why we’ll be the first company to deploy in a hundred cities.”

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