Sense Photonics flashes onto the lidar scene with a new approach and $26M

Lidar is a critical part of many autonomous cars and robotic systems, but the technology is also evolving quickly. A new company called Sense Photonics just emerged from stealth mode today with a $26M A round, touting a whole new approach that allows for an ultra-wide field of view and (literally) flexible installation. Still in […]

Digging into key takeaways from our 2019 Robotics + AI Sessions event

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater and Lucas Matney shared their key takeaways from our Robotics + AI Sessions event at UC Berkeley last week. The event was filled with panels, demos and intimate […]

Backer of Musical.ly, Grindr and Opera to invest $50M in self-driving startup Pony.ai

A games publisher in China is following the path of its larger peer Tencent to back a wide spectrum of startups for financial gains. Beijing Kunlun Wanwei, or Kunlun, announced in a filing this week that it plans to inject $50 million into autonomous driving startup Pony.ai in exchange for a 3 percent stake. Pony.ai […]

Mobileye CEO clowns on Nvidia for allegedly copying self-driving car safety scheme

While creating self-driving car systems, it’s natural that different companies might independently arrive at similar methods or results — but the similarities in a recent “first of its kind” Nvidia proposal to work done by Mobileye two years ago were just too much for the latter company’s CEO to take politely. Amnon Shashua, in a […]

Gates-backed Lumotive upends lidar conventions using metamaterials

Pretty much every self-driving car on the road, not to mention many a robot and drone, uses lidar to sense its surroundings. But useful as lidar is, it also involves physical compromises that limit its capabilities. Lumotive is a new company with funding from Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures that uses metamaterials to exceed those […]

Don’t worry, this rocket-launching Chinese robo-boat is strictly for science

It seems inevitable that the high seas will eventually play host to a sort of proxy war as automated vessels clash over territory for the algae farms we’ll soon need to feed the growing population. But this rocket-launching robo-boat is a peacetime vessel concerned only with global weather patterns. The craft is what’s called an […]

To automate bigger stores than Amazon, Standard Cognition buys Explorer.ai

Standard Cognition helps retail stores stand up to Jeff Bezos’ juggernaut. The $50 million-funded autonomous checkout startup is racing to equip bigger shops with scanless payment technology that lets customers walk out the door without ever stopping at a cashier. While Amazon Go opens its own 2,000 square foot boutiques, Standard Cognition is working on […]

Uber to resume autonomous vehicle testing months after fatal accident

Uber has been granted permission by the state of Pennsylvania to reinstate tests of its autonomous vehicles, as first reported by Reuters. A spokesperson for Uber confirmed to TechCrunch that the ride-hailing giant received a letter of authorization from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and clarified that the company has not yet resumed self-driving operations. Uber […]

Lidar startup AEye raises $40M Series B led by the Taiwanese government’s investment firm

Lidar technology developer AEye will scale its operations globally through manufacturing partnerships after raising a $40 million Series B. The round was led by Taiwania Capital, the investment firm created and backed by Taiwan’s National Development Council, and includes returning investors Kleiner Perkins, Intel Capital, Airbus Ventures and Tychee Partners. This brings the California-based startup’s […]

5 takeaways on the state of AI from Disrupt SF

The promise of artificial intelligence is immense, but the roadmap to achieving those goals still remains unclear. Onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, some of AI’s leading minds shared their thoughts on current competition in the market, how to ensure algorithms don’t perpetuate racism and the future of human-machine interaction. Here are five takeaways on the […]