UK's Wayve secures record $1.05B for Embodied AI self-driving tech - CILT(UK)
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UK's Wayve secures record $1.05B for Embodied AI self-driving tech

08 May 2024/Categories: Industry News, Active Travel & Travel Planning, Logistics & Supply Chain

Developer of Embodied AI technology for automated driving in the UK, Wayve, has announced that they have raised funding of $1.05 billion, led by SoftBank. 

Classed as the largest investment for an AI company in Europe, businesses such as Microsoft and AI chip system and software developer, NVIDA, have also contributed.

Wayve expect to make self-driving vehicles a reality using new AI technology that can interpret surroundings like humans.

Alex Kendall, Co-founder and CEO of Wayve said: “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.”

Alex explained that this investment will enable the company to develop and launch their first Embodied AI products for the automotive industry.

Soft Bank Managing Director, Kentaro Matsui, said this new type of technology could ‘eliminate’ 99% of traffic accidents in the future.

Prime Minister, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak 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’m incredibly proud that the UK is the home for pioneers like Wayve who breaking ground are as they develop the next generation of AI models for self-driving cars.”

The Automated Vehicles Bill:

In November the Government announced a legal safety framework to prepare for the introduction of self-driving vehicles with a bill called the Automated Vehicles Bill.

This Bill is now in the final stages of being passed and is in place to work as a catalyst to help the UK become a global leader in this industry.

The Government has said the AV Bill's framework aims to establish a rigorous safety framework for self-driving vehicles, ensure clear legal liability for companies, and protect consumers and the public by allowing only vehicles that meet strict self-driving standards to be marketed as such.

Despite the excitement of this new technology being welcomed onto our streets, there are still challenges that reside with it.

Shadow Trasport secretary, Louise Haigh, addressed her concerns regarding the consideration of the potential loss of jobs from the use of automated vehicles.

Debating the Bill in the house of commons in March, Louise said: “Labour has been clear that artificial intelligence and automation must be harnessed as a public good—one that delivers social benefits, grows the economy and supports jobs rather than destroying them.”

There are currently close to one million road transport drivers employed across Great Britain whose jobs could be automated in the future.

Transport Committee Chairman, Ian Stewart responded to these comments highlighting that figures from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd (SMMT) estimate that by 2040 the annual economic impact to the country will be £66 billion.

Ian also mentioned that fellow committee member Graham Morris raised concerns regarding job losses, but it was underlined that there is an ‘upside.’

SMMT figures suggest 12,000 new jobs in automotive manufacturing and an additional 300,000 in the wider economy.  

To read more about the Automated Vehicles Bill please click here.  




Image Credit:Wayve showcasing products 





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