Microsoft, NVIDIA and Softbank invest $1.05 billion in autonomous driving company Wayve

May 14, 2024 by
Frank Calviño

Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Softbank have invested $1.05 billion in autonomous driving company Wayve. Wayve builds base models for autonomy, similar to a "GPT for driving," that can train any vehicle to see, think, and drive through any environment. UK-based Wayve has announced a $1.05 billion Series C investment round led by SoftBank Group, with contributions from new investor NVIDIA and existing investor Microsoft.

Founded in 2017, Wayve is a pioneer in Embodied AI for autonomous driving and is the first company to develop and test an end-to-end (e2e) deep-learning autonomous driving system on public roads. Wayve has developed hardware-agnostic AI driving models for map-agnostic autonomous driving and several innovative technologies, such as fleet learning, data infrastructure, evaluation, and simulation platforms designed to improve its AI models using real-world and rapidly simulated data. Its focus is on creating advanced AI models that can enable vehicles to "see, think, and drive" autonomously in a variety of environments.

By leveraging Wayve's advanced proprietary tools, OEMs and fleet owners can generate valuable data assets that bridge the gap between raw data and unparalleled driving capabilities.

Multimodal and generative models 

In addition, the company's research on multimodal and generative models, known as LINGO and GAIA, is leading the automotive industry toward a future where in-vehicle AI can deliver advanced features such as intuition, language-responsive interfaces, personalized driving styles, and co-drivers to enhance the automated driving experience.

As Wayve's core AI model advances, these products will enable OEMs to efficiently upgrade automobiles to higher levels of driving automation, from L2+ assisted driving to L4 automated driving.

Kentaro Matsui, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, Head of New Business Office at SoftBank Group, and Board Member at Wayve, said, "AI is revolutionizing mobility. Vehicles can now interpret their environment like humans, enabling improved decision-making that promises higher safety standards. The potential of this type of technology is transformative; it could eliminate 99% of traffic accidents. SoftBank Group is delighted to be at the forefront of this effort with Wayve, as advanced intelligence redefines mobility and connectivity, contributing to a more convenient and safer society."

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