Williams Advanced Engineering’s investment fund takes stake in autonomous vehicle training company

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Foresight Williams Technology (FWT) has announced a £1m (US$1.25m) investment in dRISK, an autonomous vehicle testing and training company. FWT is an investment collaboration formed between Williams Advanced Engineering and Foresight, an investment management company.

Founded in 2014 by CEO Chess Stetson, dRISK is an AI company looking to revolutionize the safety of autonomous vehicles by training them to avoid high-risk scenarios. This contrasts with the conventional approach of training AVs on low-risk driving. dRISK‘s core technology – with four patents granted and two pending – uses networks of data to store, visualize and reveal ‘unknown unknowns’ in complex and highly sparse data areas.

The commercial rollout of AVs has failed to live up to expectations due to the technical challenge of dealing with high-risk scenarios that are unlikely but pose a real risk. dRISK claims to have solved this problem by fusing public, private and proprietary data covering high-risk scenarios. The global market for AI training data alone is currently valued at US$1.5bn. FWT’s investment will accelerate the development and growth of dRISK as a central technology for AV development.

Matthew Burke, head of technology ventures at WAE, commented, “dRISK’s proprietary technology has the potential to accelerate the development of automated driving control systems and overcome one of the main barriers to self-driving: the identification of edge cases. We are delighted that FWT has made this investment and we expect to leverage our knowledge of the automotive industry to increase uptake of dRISK’s technology.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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