The UK’s Wejo has come a long way in a short space of time. The start-up was founded in 2014 and its first office was above a Greek restaurant in the city of Manchester. Since then, it has developed into one of the world’s leading automotive data exchanges and has received financial backing from the likes of Microsoft and GM.
Auto Futures has been talking to Richard Barlow, Wejo’s founder and CEO. The company has recently announced a number of new partnerships and investors, plus plans to list on the NASDAQ.
“Wejo was created with the goal of reimagining the driving landscape by combining software solutions with data and analytics to make connectivity insights more accessible. Wejo standardizes data between data providers and data consumers, unlocking the value of connected vehicle data (CVD) for the entire mobility ecosystem,” says Barlow.
Every day Wejo captures 16 billion data points through sensors in vehicles across a global network of 11 million live vehicles. The company then analyses that data to provide transportation organisations (e.g. automakers, OEMs, DOTs) with critical insights into cars, roads, journeys and drivers, to improve transportation.
“These insights are critical for the future of transportation – from immediate traffic and safety improvements in cars and on roadways to the development of autonomous, smart cars and the mass rollout of EVs.”
“Through our partnerships (e.g. Waycare and Esri) and relationships with organisations like Purdue and the Indiana Department of Transportation, Wejo is actively redefining the world we live in with CVD,” he adds.
Wejo ADEPT is a cloud-based data exchange platform that aggregates huge volumes of CVD. Wejo works with OEMs to standardise the data and provide insight that can create new commercial opportunities and enhance the consumer experience.
“It was developed to enable data consumers to focus on growing their business or creating innovative solutions. The high-performance data architecture is proven to handle massive volume at speed, from any source, whilst ensuring the robustness needed for mission critical services. Additionally, as we work across geographies, ADEPT has been built to manage localization in relation to the territory in which the data resides,” explains Barlow.
“Wejo ADEPT is the underlying tech stack Wejo uses to do everything from data ingestion and normalization to insight creation and product delivery. Therefore, all of Wejo’s customers benefit from the ADEPT technology. The data from millions of connected vehicles is continuously flowing through ADEPT every day and powering services for global mobility brands.”
WEJO says it stands for ‘data for good’. We asked Barlow exactly what that mission entails.
“We believe in using data for good and that ethos is the basis for everything we do and create. Wejo is very selective when it comes to the people and businesses we collaborate with, as we ensure we are partnering with ethical, like-minded businesses who value sustainability and safety.”
“One of Wejo’s key priorities is making sure that people’s data is safe, and their privacy is protected,” he adds.
In June, 2021, the company announced a partnership with Waycare, an artificial intelligence (AI) solution for traffic management, to deliver a joint offering to 20 geographies across the U.S.
The aim is to better detect, predict and respond to traffic incidents. Wejo started partnering with Waycare back in 2019 on a program for Nevada’s transportation and safety management agencies.
“Over the past two years, we have seen that partnership grow to 20 different geographies nationwide. By supplementing its data sets with real-time CVD, Wejo allows Waycare to produce actionable insights, like automatic incident detection and crash prediction, that can help make roads safer.”
“The partnership also provides the agency with more visibility into rural roadways where physical infrastructure is often lacking. The partnership between Wejo and Waycare has been so successful because we both share a vision of a world where data can be used for good.”
“Roadway safety risks – such as stalled vehicles, debris, traffic stops and congestion – require resolution from many different agencies, from first responders and roadway maintenance crews to traffic management operators. Those agencies often gather insights about incidents from different platforms, which poses miscommunication and inconsistent information issues,” explains Barlow.
Noam Maital, CEO of Waycar, comments: “Ingesting Wejo’s connected vehicle data into our AI-algorithms has enabled the Waycare platform to automatically detect more incidents on the roadway, and to do so faster than traditional methods used today. The sheer volume of connected vehicle data we’ve been able to access is invaluable and has provided a useful source of information to help us supplement our coverage in areas where physical road infrastructure isn’t present.”
“Wejo and Waycare are bridging these gaps by providing insights in a single platform that offers roadway agencies a near real-time, comprehensive analysis of roadway conditions, the ability to detect and predict incidents and opportunity to respond faster and more effectively to incidents,” says Barlow.
“CVD will be pertinent for preparing cities, roadways and traffic routes for optimal EV rollout.”
As well as GM, the likes of Microsoft, Japanese insurance group Sompo and Palantir Technologies are strategic investors in Wejo. It’s also preparing to list publicly in the U.S. via a business combination with Virtuoso Acquisition Corp. The transaction implies an equity value of approximately $1.1 billion.
Barlow tells us how the new funding will be used. “Investment in international expansion, product development and go to market to drive our growth per the plan.”
Finally, we asked Barlow what the connected vehicle market will look like by 2030.
“By 2030, we predict massive growth in the connected vehicle market. With the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan and interest in manufacturing, EVs and emerging automotive technologies, there is no doubt that the production and use of connected vehicles will increase in the future,” he replies.
“As such, CVD will be pertinent for preparing cities, roadways and traffic routes for optimal EV rollout. Additionally, CVD will be critical in enabling automakers, OEMs and government organizations to make more informed, sustainable decisions that will improve and shape the future of transportation,” concludes Barlow.