• Friday, May 20, 2022

Business

Start-up to begin driverless food delivery trial this year

With a fleet of autonomous Jaguar I-Pace vehicles, Wayve has tested its artificial intelligence technology in logistics in London and five other cities in the UK. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

A START-UP, co-founded by a British Indian, aims to deploy driverless vans this year to deliver food from two of the UK’s best-known retailers.

Wayve has plans to run the service in London under tests with Ocado and Asda with which the autonomous vehicle firm has signed deals.

It has recently raised £147m to scale up its technology to use artificial intelligence in logistics.

The start-up which counts Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Eclipse Ventures and Balderton Capital among its investors, has so far received the backing worth £190.28m.

It had announced its partnership and a $14m (£10.33m) investment from Ocado Group in October last year.

“Wayve’s technology will be used in an autonomous delivery trial in London commencing in 2022. Wayve is also working with one other big UK grocer, Asda,” it had said.

With a fleet of autonomous Jaguar I-Pace vehicles, Wayve plans to expand beyond London as it has tested its technology in five other cities in the UK.

Artificial intelligence expert Amar Shah founded the company alongside Alex Kendall in London in 2017. Shah led the firm as its CEO till 2020.

Wayve is in the same space as Google spin-off Waymo. But the key difference is that Waymo is dependent on “lidar” sensors and detailed mapping while Wayve’s technology relies on cameras.

“The approaches today, mostly by the trillion-dollar technology organisations you see in North America, revolve around an approach that is based on high definition maps, hand-coded rules, and complex sensor systems that tell the car how to drive,” Kendall told The Times.

“We’ve put together a system that learns how to drive with data. [It] can generalise to a new city it’s never seen before. That was a real eye-opening moment and an industry first.”

Wayve has bigger plans for the future – it wants to use its technology in passenger vehicles.

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