Five, the UK startup developed self-driving software, has raised a $41 million Series B from Trustbridge Partners, Direct Line Group and Sistema VC. Existing investors Lakestar, Amadeus Capital Partners, Kindred Capital and Notion Capital also participated.
In order for self-driving vehicles to take over the market and the roads, two things need to be in place: the technology, and the means to measure the safety of that technology.
Five is working on both.
Beginning in 2016, Five developed a self-driving system for mixed-use urban public roads, which became part of the UK government’s StreetWise program. In 2019, the startup’s technology was demonstrated through hundreds of autonomously driven car rides, carrying passengers over a 19 km route in London.
The company currently has eight self-driving vehicles, each equipped with tens of sensors and processing power at supercomputer levels.
Now the team has begun working on the second element necessary to bring autonomous vehicles into the real world. In addition to its own self-driving system, Five is building cloud-based development platforms, designed to measure the performance and assure the safety of self-driving software.
Such platforms could help overcome some challenges to commercialisation, such as the one Gus Park of Direct Line Group points out: “Insurers will need to build the capability to measure and underwrite new types of risk.” Park is joining Five’s board.
With total funding raised now at $77 million, the latest round will help turn the cloud-based development platforms into a new product, which the business can sell alongside its vehicle software.