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Making Wayves with AI in self-driving vehicles market

Posted on 21 May 2024. Edited: John Hunter. Read 612 times.
Making Wayves with AI in self-driving vehicles marketBacked by SoftBank Group, NVIDIA, and Microsoft, the UK AI company Wayve (founded in the UK in 2017) has announced a $1.05 billion investment to develop the next generation of AI-powered self-driving vehicles. The biggest investment in a UK AI company in history, it will support Wayve’s development and launch of the first ‘embodied AI technology’ for self-driving vehicles in the UK — a technology that will enable self-driving vehicles “to learn from and interact with a real-world environment, including the ability to navigate and learn from situations that do not follow strict patterns or rules, such as unexpected actions by drivers or pedestrians, and thereby going far beyond the capabilities of existing AV technology”.

Wayve says that between 2018 and 2022, the UK self-driving vehicle sector alone generated £475 million of direct investment and created 1,500 new jobs; and as the self-driving vehicle industry grows in the UK, it is expected to be worth £42 billion and create 38,000 more skilled jobs by 2035.

“The AI sector already employs more than 50,000 people in the UK and contributes more than £3.7 billion to our economy every year. By 2035, our AI market is forecast to grow to over $1 trillion.
“Our advancements in self-driving vehicle technology have been supported by the UK’s Code of Practice: Automated Vehicle Trialling, which is world-leading in its pro-innovation and flexible approach towards the development and testing of self-driving in the UK. It relies on the company taking accountability for safety, without the requirement for onerous regulatory processes and red tape. The UK’s approach has been integral to our ability to build AI for assisted and automated driving so quickly.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I am incredibly proud that the UK is the home for pioneers like Wayve, which is 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 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.”

Alex Kendall, Wayve’s co-founder and CEO, added: “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. The UK’s progressive testing framework has supported our rapid development of cutting-edge AI, and we have 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 not only help us launch our Embodied AI products and expand our operations globally but also send a crucial signal to the market of the strength of the UK’s AI ecosystem. We look forward to watching more AI companies here, thrive, and scale.”