AV testing and training company, dRISK, gains Williams funding


Foresight Williams Technology (FWT) Funds, an investment collaboration between Williams Advanced Engineering and Foresight Group, has made a £1 million (US$1.23m) investment in dRisk, an autonomous vehicle testing and training company. Founded in 2014, by CEO Chess Stetson, dRisk is an AI company working to improve autonomous vehicle (AV) safety by training them to avoid high-risk scenarios. This method contrasts with the conventional approach of training AVs on low risk driving, which does not deal with the technical challenge of high-risk scenarios which, while unlikely, pose a real risk.

dRisk‘s core technology, with four patents granted and two pending, uses networks of data to store, visualise, and reveal ‘unknown unknowns’ in complex and highly sparse data areas. The company has multiple leading AV developers among its customer base.

dRisk fuses public, private and proprietary data covering high-risk scenarios. The company says its statistical robustness and auditability has allowed it to win the largest grant from the UK’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous vehicles, enabling dRisk to build “the ultimate test” for self-driving cars.

FWT believes its investment will accelerate the development and growth of dRisk as a central technology for AV development, tapping into the global market for AI training data, which is currently valued at US$1.5 billion.

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.”

Chess Stetson, chief executive of dRisk, added: “This investment will allow dRisk to accelerate our business plan and achieve our goal of introducing the dRisk product to the majority of the AV industry. And in turn, dramatically accelerating the development of safe and useable autonomous vehicles. We thank Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering for their support.”

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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