British autonomous-driving startup Wayve Technologies Ltd. is opening a research center in Vancouver, adding its second location in North America to accelerate its growth.

The company’s chief scientist Jamie Shotton, who previously helped to develop Microsoft Corp.’s body-tracking tool Kinect, will move from the U.K. to lead the R&D-focused office, Wayve’s third location after London and Mountain View, California.

“We are in a growth phase,” Shotton said in an interview. “It’s just about expanding our reach, expanding our access to talent.”

Going up against the likes of Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, Wayve’s artificial intelligence aims to learn driving rules and patterns by itself, rather than needing them to be programmed in, so it can intuit how to respond to new places and unpredictable scenarios. The company’s route to market is to get automakers to integrate its software into their cars, Shotton said.

The expansion is a vote of confidence for Vancouver, an aspiring tech hub. A reasonable drive from Seattle, the Canadian city has major offices for the likes of Microsoft and Inc. as well as a healthy startup scene.

“Vancouver is obviously a very international hub for North America, and highly attractive for businesses through favorable immigration policies,” Shotton said. It has a “pro-innovation, pro-AI policy environment that gives us the confidence to invest.”

Wayve was founded by PhDs from the University of Cambridge in 2017. It’s raised more than US$258 million from investors including Microsoft, Eclipse Ventures LLC, Balderton Capital, Baillie Gifford & Co., D1 Capital Partners, Moore Strategic Ventures LLC, Virgin and Ocado Group Plc. The Vancouver office will hire about 10 researchers this year and expand from there, Shotton said, adding to Wayve’s about 240 employees.

U.K. filings show individual investors in Wayve include Meta Platforms Inc.’s chief AI scientist Yann LeCun and OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever. Last year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates publicly tested the Wayve system in central London with Wayve co-founder Alex Kendall.