Self-driving startup Wayve taps Microsoft for 'supercomputer muscle'

2 minute read

General view of Microsoft Corporation headquarters at Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris, France, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

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LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) - British startup Wayve said on Wednesday it will use supercomputer infrastructure designed for the firm by its investor Microsoft (MSFT.O) to process vast amounts of data as it develops machine learning-based models for self-driving cars.

Wayve's technology relies on machine learning using camera sensors fitted on the outside of the vehicle, where the system learns from traffic patterns and the behaviour of other drivers, instead of the conventional method of relying on detailed digital maps and coding to tell vehicles how to operate.

"Microsoft is providing supercomputing muscle," Wayve Chief Executive Alex Kendall told Reuters. "What we're looking to do goes beyond the bounds of what's possible for commercial cloud offerings today."

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Kendall said Microsoft will be able to process the terabyte of data - 1 trillion bytes, or equivalent to around an hour of consumer video - that Wayve's cars generate every minute.

That will help the startup as it scales up its self-driving technology for trials on last-mile delivery vehicles with UK online grocery technology company Ocado (OCDO.L) and supermaket chain Asda.

Those grocery delivery trials will start this year with a human safety operator on board.

"We see this as being a commercial fleet offering," he said. "That's how we think autonomy is first going to come to market."

Earlier this year, Microsoft participated in the London-based startup's $200 million Series B funding round. read more

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Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Jan Harvey

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