Wayve partners with Microsoft to scale technology for autonomous vehicles

Wayve self-driving car on the roads in London
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
20 May 2022

Wayve, the London-based company pioneering autonomous vehicles that the Virgin Group has invested in, has announced it is working with Microsoft to leverage the supercomputing infrastructure it needs to support the development of AI-based models for self-driving vehicles on a global scale.

This new partnership with Microsoft will bring together Wayve’s industry-leading expertise using deep neural networks and vast quantities of data to train AI models, with Microsoft’s engineering excellence in powering large-scale AI systems. When designed around Wayve’s unique approach, the power of Microsoft’s supercomputing infrastructure will make it possible to bring self-driving technology to more places and customers sooner.

Wayve self driving car in London

Alex Kendall, CEO of Wayve said: “Joining forces with Microsoft to design the supercomputing infrastructure needed to accelerate deep learning for autonomous mobility is an opportunity that we are honoured to lead. Deep learning systems thrive on data, and we’ve put an immense amount of effort into understanding what it takes to get these systems on the road. We are excited by the opportunities that this collaboration will create as we push deep learning to new levels of scale.”

Wayve’s approach to self-driving cars is different to anything else on the market and that’s why the Virgin Group invested in the company. Other self-driving systems rely on expensive hardware, HD mapping and complex localisation systems that can take months, or even years, to update for new locations. However, Wayve’s data-driven ‘learned’ approach is creating autonomous vehicle systems that can generalise – or apply its driving intelligence – to new, previously unseen places. 

A Wayve self-driving car in London

Wayve recently tested its self-driving vehicles in five new UK cities, showing they could perform the same driving skills learned in London without any prior city-specific adaptations. Developing autonomous vehicles that generalise can unlock new places faster and support more widespread deployment of this technology.

This ability to generalise has already attracted two of the UK’s largest supermarkets to trial Wayve’s self-driving vehicle technology as part of their last-mile delivery operations in London. The pilot studies will see Wayve’s technology fitted onto a selection of delivery vans that will be deployed on a range of delivery routes. The autonomous vans will also provide fleet-scale data for training Wayve’s AI models. Wayve is also working with DPD, the UK’s leading parcel delivery firm, to collect additional driving data from across Greater London.

As part of her investing with purpose series, Holly Branson caught up with Wayve CEO Alex Kendall to discuss the future of mobility, workplace culture, the importance of purpose, and building trust in people when it comes to new technology.  

Visit Wayve to find out more.