UK self-driving startup Wayve raises $200M to increase technology

British self-driving technology startup Wayve said on Tuesday it has raised $200 million from investors to increase its autonomous driving technology globally and launch more pilot projects with commercial fleet partners.

The Series B funding round brings the startup’s total fundraising to $258 million and incorporates new investments from funding firms D1 Capital Partners, Moore Strategic Ventures and Linse Capital, in addition to new capital from existing investors including Microsoft.

Making taxis autonomous has demonstrated more troublesome and costly to create than anticipated, yet investors have been pumping cash into self-driving technology for trucks and other commercial vehicles where automation could be suitable sooner.

London-based Wayve’s technology depends with respect to AI that utilizes camera sensors fitted outwardly of the vehicle, rather than the customary strategy for depending on detailed digital maps and coding to advise vehicles how to work.

“Instead of telling a car how to drive we’ve built a system that learns to drive and can learn to do intelligent things,” Wayve CEO Alex Kendall told Reuters.

He said that, for example, the organization’s test vehicles have figured out how to accurately navigate “very robustly” through traffic lights in London – realizing how traffic lights function, which path to be in and how to associate with different vehicles regardless of whether they are breaking the norms. Last year Wayve took vehicles to five other UK cities and drove through traffic signals while never having worked in those cities previously.

“Our system was able to take the concept of traffic lights from London and apply it everywhere,” Kendall said. “That’s why we’ll be the first company to deploy in a hundred cities (worldwide),” he said, without giving a timeframe.

UK online grocery technology organization Ocado has invested in Wayve and has reported an autonomous delivery preliminary with the startup.

Wayve is likewise running an autonomous delivery preliminary with British supermarket chain Asda in London.