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British firm secures £800m funding to develop AI technology for self-driving cars

  • UK firm Wayve secures over £800m in funding to build AI for self-driving cars
  • US giants Nvidia and Microsoft are among the firms to have contributed to the round of funding
  • PM says investment is a ‘testament to our leadership in this industry’

Time 12:37 pm, May 7, 2024

Self-driving cars could be moving a step closer after a British technology firm secured more than £800m of funding.

UK outfit, Wayve is known as a pioneer in so-called Embodied AI for autonomous driving – effectively foundation models on which autonomous vehicles are built – enabling them to learn from and interact with a real-world environment.

The firm, founded in 2017, has now bagged an eye watering £837m ($1.05bn) to build Artificial Intelligence (AI) products used to power self-driving cars.

The majority of the money has been stumped up by Japanese tech giant Softbank, with Nvidia and existing investor Microsoft also involved.

The investment is the largest ever for a UK AI firm and comes just days after the government’s Automated Vehicles Bill was cleared in the House of  Commons.

In response to the investment, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was ‘incredibly proud’ and said it was a ‘testament to our leadership in this industry’.


He 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 am 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 business has secured the biggest investment yet in a UK AI company 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 businesses 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 co-founder and chief executive, Alex Kendall, added: 'At Wayve, our vision is to develop autonomous technology that not only becomes a reality in millions of vehicles but also earns people’s trust by seamlessly integrating into their everyday lives to unlock extraordinary value.

'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.

'Our collaboration with SoftBank, NVIDIA, and Microsoft will help advance our mission to redefine driving with AI at the core.

'This investment will enable us to develop and launch our first Embodied AI products for the automotive industry, empowering OEMs to provide consumers with trustworthy and beneficial automated driving experiences.'

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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