Self-driving technology start-up Waabi, founded by former Uber executive Raquel Urtasun, has launched with an $83.5m Series A investment to commercialise autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies.

Ms Urtasun was previously associated with the Uber ATG self-driving unit, which was taken over by self-driving car start-up Aurora.

She worked in Uber’s self-driving unit as chief scientist and head of Uber ATG’s research and development (R&D) lab.

Waabi’s latest funding round was led by Khosla Ventures, with contributions from Uber, 8VC, Radical Ventures, OMERS Ventures and BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund (WIT).

Aurora Innovation also invested in the company, as did artificial intelligence (AI) pioneers Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li, Pieter Abbeel and Sanja Fidler.

The capital raised in the round is said to be among the largest Series A rounds ever raised in Canada.

Ms Urtasun said: “Self-driving is one of the most exciting and important technologies of our generation. Once solved at scale, it will change the world as we know it.

“Waabi is the culmination of my life’s work to bring commercially viable self-driving technology to society. I’m honoured to be joined by a team of extraordinary scientists, engineers and technologists who are equally committed to executing on this bold vision.”

Waabi’s team, led by Urtasun as CEO, is based in Toronto and California.

The company is focused on using the power of AI to allow AVs to drive safely in the real-world environment.

Waabi’s AI-first approach, developed by a team of technologists, uses deep learning, probabilistic inference and complex optimisation to create new software that is ‘end-to-end trainable, interpretable and capable of very complex reasoning’.

The company said that combined with a closed-loop simulator, this will allow both common driving scenarios and safety-critical edge cases to be tested at scale.

Waabi’s software will initially be deployed in logistics, particularly in long-haul trucking.

Toronto will continue to be Waabi’s critical hub for developing and testing software and scaling its team.

Khosla Ventures managing director Sven Strohband said: “Waabi brings something radically new to the self-driving space.

“With a dream team that has been at the forefront of innovation in the industry and a differentiated, AI-first approach, Waabi is well-positioned to lead the next generation of self-driving technology. We’re thrilled to support them in that journey.”