Volvo Group Venture Capital AB has invested in Waabi Innovation Inc., a Canadian company developing autonomous trucking technology, founded by Raquel Urtasun, former chief scientist at Uber ATG. The investment signals further momentum for Waabi in the face of industry headwinds, following the unveiling of its core autonomous solution late last year, the Waabi Driver.
“Waabi is using advanced artificial intelligence technology to test, assess skills and ultimately teach a virtual driver to maneuver safely and efficiently in a commercial-ready autonomous trucking solution,” said Martin Witt, president of Volvo Group Venture Capital. “We are impressed by what they have accomplished and see that Volvo Group can add considerable strategic value to the development of their business. We are currently exploring ways to cooperate.”
Freight movement is rapidly increasing, with the trucking industry moving the vast majority of the goods. Accommodating this growth has placed tremendous pressure on every part of the supply chain industry. Volvo Group see that fully autonomous trucking transports are key to providing additional capacity, better safety and improved efficiency but also supporting drivers in tiresome routes.
“Partnerships and investments are key to commercializing autonomous transport solutions at scale. We welcome Volvo Group’s decision to invest in companies like Waabi who are building the new transport ecosystem,” said Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions.
Waabi is developing next-generation artificial intelligence technology to solve autonomy at scale. The company recently unveiled the Waabi Driver, its core autonomous trucking solution, designed for large-scale commercialization and safe deployment. This solution is complemented by Waabi World, a scalable high-quality simulator, exposing the Waabi Driver to the vast diversity of scenarios needed to hone its driving skills and paving the way to widespread adoption of autonomous trucking.
“Autonomy will one day transform trucking and logistics, but the self-driving industry has not solved this challenge, yet,” said Urtasun, Waabi founder and CEO. “Our AI-first approach is the key to unlocking this reality at scale. Volvo Group’s investment in Waabi marks the next step in our journey, particularly around our shared commitment to safety.”
In June 2021, Waabi raised a significant Series A round totaling US$83.5 million. The round was led by Khosla Ventures with additional participation from Uber, Radical Ventures, 8VC, OMERS Ventures, BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund (WIT), Aurora Innovation Inc., AI luminaries Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li, Pieter Abbeel, Sanja Fidler and others.
Volvo Group Venture Capital was founded in 1997 and invests globally in venture companies and startups working in logistics services, site solutions, electrification and climate tech.
Read an exclusive interview with Raquel Urtasun, CEO and founder of Waabi, who explains the company’s unique ‘AI-first’ approach to solving self-driving, here.