Ikea owner invests in genAI autonomous truck company

Ingka Investments, the investment arm of Ikea owner Ingka Group, has taken part in a $200 million funding round for a company developing self-driving trucks with generative AI (genAI.)

The Series B funding will support Waabi’s aim to deploy its fully driverless vehicles by 2025, a move which Ingka Investments said could “transform” the supply chain.

Other investors participating in the fundraise include NVIDIA, Uber and Porsche Automobil Holding SE. The amount that each organisation contributed to the funding round was not disclosed.

Waabi said the self-driving trucks are based on an AI system capable of reasoning and making decisions in various driving conditions and routes. As it is able to reason, the company claims it requires “significantly less” training data and resources compared to other end-to-end systems.

“Our mission at Ingka Group is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Waabi’s technology aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainability and innovation,” said Peter van der Poel, managing director of Ingka Investments. “This investment reflects our dedication to transforming industries through smart, efficient solutions that not only drive economic value but also contribute positively to society and the environment.”

Ingka Group has already been experimenting with technology at Ikea, with AI tools currently being used across the business. This includes a copilot tool developed in collaboration with Microsoft to help employees with image creation and generating ideas.

In February this year, Ikea also announced the roll out of an AI-powered home design tool on the OpenAI GPT store to enable users to plan and design their space. The retailer said the move marks a significant step in “democratising planning services”.

Ikea also intends to provide AI literacy training to around 3,000 employees and 500 senior staff. The scheme includes a variety of courses for different employees at various levels within Ikea.

Courses include “AI fundamentals”, which will be available to all employees, along with specialised training including “responsible AI”, “mastering genAI”, and “algorithmic training for ethics.”

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