Startup of the Week: Wayve

  • Wayve was founded by Alex Kendall and Amar Shah.
  • The startup’s AI technology helps autonomous vehicles to adapt and drive in unknown urban environments.
  • Wayve have raised a total $43m over the course of 3 funding rounds.





Our Startup of the Week for this week is Wayve, a Cambridge-born startup creating AI technology for autonomous vehicles.

At its core, Wayve’s technology aims to help self-driving cars better adapt to unpredictable and unknown environments. It does this by “taking a pure machine learning approach”, creating a data-driven driver that can adapt its driving intelligence to new environments.

Wayve was founded in 2017 by Alex Kendall and Amar Shah, following world-class research from the University of Cambridge into deep learning. Like the origin story of many great tech companies, Wayve’s first robot was built in their garage and were first to demonstrate an example of deep reinforcement learning on a self-driving car in June 2018.

Through its technology, Wayve strives to give self-driving vehicles the ability to drive in unknown urban environments across the globe, interacting with various objects and signs on a street and learning through these.

Instead of using HD maps or hand-coded rules, Wayve is attempting to build up a “data-driven learned driver”, being data-driven “at every layer” to allow for continuous learning. This means that their technology learns similarly to how a person does, learning how to drive in one city and applying the knowledge from this experience when driving in new/unknown urban environments.

Wayve CEO and co-founder Amar Shah states: “The missing piece of the self-driving puzzle is intelligent algorithms, not more sensors, rules and maps,”

“Humans have a fascinating ability to perform complex tasks in the real world, because our brains allow us to learn quickly and transfer knowledge across our many experiences. We want to give our vehicles better brains, not more hardware.”

So far, Wayve have raised $43 million in funding over the course of 3 rounds, their latest being a Series A in August 2020, which raised £15.2 million.