Wayve secures over $1 billion to develop AI for autonomous vehicles

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The British startup’s funding round was supported by major tech giants such as SoftBank Group, NVIDIA and Microsoft. Wayve plans to use these funds to advance its approach to embodied AI, which will allow self-driving cars to learn and navigate in the real world, including unpredictable situations involving other drivers and pedestrians.

Wayve co-founder and CEO Alex Kendall highlighted the UK’s “rich and inspiring AI heritage” with top talent, universities and innovation-friendly rules that have supported their development fast AI. He said the investment “sends a crucial signal to the market about the strength of the UK AI ecosystem”.

 

Between 2018 and 2022 alone, the UK’s autonomous driving sector generated £475 million of investment and created 1,500 new jobs. By 2035, experts predict the UK autonomous vehicle industry will be worth £42 billion and create 38,000 skilled jobs.

The country’s AI market is also expected to reach more than $1 trillion by then, with the sector already employing more than 50,000 people and contributing £3.7 billion a year to the economy.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak celebrated the announcement, saying: “From the first light bulb to the World Wide Web, AI and self-driving cars, the UK is proud to be at the forefront of some of the greatest technological advances. in history.

“I am incredibly proud that the UK is home to pioneers like Wayve, who are innovating by developing the next generation of AI models for self-driving cars. »

Founded in 2017, Wayve credits the UK Code of Practice for enabling safe testing of autonomous vehicles through a flexible, pro-innovation approach focused on corporate responsibility rather than burdensome regulations .

“We are working hard 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,” Sunak added.

The new Automated Vehicles Bill is expected to establish one of the most comprehensive legal frameworks for autonomous vehicles in the world when it is passed in the coming weeks. All self-driving cars will require rigorous safety testing, and the law will clarify liability when vehicles operate themselves.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has highlighted how self-driving cars will “revolutionise road travel, making it safer and more convenient for everyone”. Given that 88% of accidents currently involve human error, automated vehicles could significantly reduce costs, injuries and deaths on the roads.

Science Minister Michelle Donelan hailed Wayve as “a true homegrown success story” and said the investment affirms the UK’s status as an “AI and innovation powerhouse” attracting funding thanks to its “pro-innovation approach” in the management of transformative technologies.

Wayve’s record funding follows closely on the heels of major commitments from BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan to the UK automotive industry. Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “This is the latest in a long line of fantastic investments in the UK automotive sector. »

The UK has the third highest number of AI companies and investments in the world, after the US and China. It attracted the first international offices of AI pioneers like OpenAI and Anthropic, while also being home to DeepMind since its founding more than a decade ago.

While avoiding heavy legislation like that in the EU that could stifle AI development, the UK is working to hold expert regulators accountable and put in place safety standards. He invested £100 million in the world’s first AI safety institute, hosted the first global AI safety summit, signed a pact with the US to develop safety testing and will co-host the Seoul AI Summit with South Korea later this month.

This article is originally published on technews.fr

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