Last year, Wayve showed its deep-learning model could drive in multiple cities. Now it can drive vans as well as cars.
Wayve, a driverless-car startup based in London, has made a machine-learning model that can drive two different types of vehicle: a passenger car and a delivery van. It is the first time the same AI driver has learned to drive multiple vehicles.
The news comes less than a year after Wayve showed that it could take AI trained on the streets of London and use it to drive cars in four other cities across the UK, a challenge that would typically require significant re-engineering. “It’s like when you go somewhere new and get a rental car, you can still drive,” says Jeff Hawke, Wayve’s vice president of technology.
The advance suggests that Wayve’s approach to autonomous vehicles (AVs), in which a deep-learning model is trained to drive from scratch, could help it scale up faster than leading companies like Cruise, Waymo, and Tesla.
Wayve is a far smaller company than its bigger and better-funded competitors. But it is part of a new generation of startups, including Waabi and Ghost, sometimes known as AV2.0, that is ditching the robotics mindset embraced by the first wave of driverless car firms—where driverless cars rely on super-detailed 3D maps and separate modules for sensing and planning. Instead, these startups rely entirely on AI to drive the vehicles.