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SoftBank, Nvidia back AI driving start-up in $1B funding round

UK-based Wayve bagged almost $1.1 billion in its latest investment round, cash set to be used to accelerate efforts to launch AI products designed for autonomous driving systems.

 Its latest fundraising drive was led by SoftBank Group, with Nvidia and existing backer Microsoft also contributing. 

The company is aiming to use embodied AI technology to assist automated driving. Embodied AI is the area of the much-hyped sector concerned with how intelligent systems learn from the physical world. Wayve noted the technology would “transform how machines interact with, comprehend, and learn from human behavior in real-world environments,” adding it would pave “the way for greater usability and safety in autonomous driving systems”. It also cited the potential for automated systems to be able to “confidently navigate situations that do not follow strict patterns or rules”. This includes unexpected activities of other drivers or pedestrians on the road. The company has already tested an end-to-end deep learning autonomous driving system on public roads and is currently building specific foundation models for the use case. It expects the cash to push forward its plan to launch products for production vehicles, with the eventual aim its technology will improve levels of automated driving delivered by the automotive industry. 

SoftBank Investment Advisers managing partner and Wayve board member Kentaro Matsui said AI was “revolutionizing mobility,” adding “the potential of this type of technology is transformative; it could eliminate 99 per cent of traffic accidents.”

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SoftBank, Nvidia back AI driving start-up in $1B funding round