Talk all things robotics and AI with TechCrunch writers

This Thursday, we’ll be hosting our third annual Robotics + AI TechCrunch Sessions event at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall. The day is packed start-to-finish with intimate discussions on the state of robotics and deep learning with key founders, investors, researchers and technologists. The event will dig into recent developments in robotics and AI, which startups […]

Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft is lost during historic lunar landing attempt

Israel’s SpaceIL almost made history today as its Beresheet spacecraft came within an ace of landing on the surface of the Moon, but suffered a last-minute failure during descent. Israel missed out on the chance to be the fourth country to make a controlled lunar landing, but getting 99 percent of the way there is […]

Flying taxis could be more efficient than gas and electric cars on long-distance trips

Flying cars definitely sound cool, but whether they’re actually a good idea is up for debate. Fortunately they do seem to have some surefire benefits, among which you can now count improved efficiency — in theory, and on long trips. But it’s something! Air travel takes an enormous amount of energy, since you have to […]

Facebook’s AI team maps the whole population of Africa

A new map of nearly all of Africa shows exactly where the continent’s 1.3 billion people live, down to the meter, which could help everyone from local governments to aid organizations. The map joins others like it from Facebook created by running satellite imagery through a machine learning model. It’s not exactly that there was […]

MIT’s ‘cyber-agriculture’ optimizes basil flavors

The days when you could simply grow a basil plant from a seed by placing it on your windowsill and watering it regularly are gone — there’s no point now that machine learning-optimized hydroponic “cyber-agriculture” has produced a superior plant with more robust flavors. The future of pesto is here. This research didn’t come out […]

A startup trying to detect endometriosis through ‘smart tampons’ just landed $9 million in Series A funding

There’s no shortage of so-called femtech startups raising money right now, and it’s little wonder why. Aside from the growing market opportunity — the global fertility services market is expected to reach $31 billion by 2023, says the consultancy Allied Market Research, nearly double where it stood in 2016 — more women are clamoring for […]

Apple sells wireless charging AirPods, cancels charger days later

“Works with AirPower mat”. Apparently not. It loooks to me like Apple doesn’t treat customers with the same “high standard” of care it apparently reserves for its hardware quality. Nine days after launching its $199 wireless charging AirPods headphones that touted compatibility with the forthcoming Apple AirPower inductive charger mat, Apple has just scrapped AirPower […]

Mars helicopter bound for the Red Planet takes to the air for the first time

The Mars 2020 mission is on track for launch next year, and nesting inside the high-tech new rover heading that direction is a high-tech helicopter designed to fly in the planet’s nearly non-existent atmosphere. The actual aircraft that will fly on the Martian surface just took its first flight and its engineers are over the […]

Ocean drone startup merger spawns Sofar, the DJI of the sea

What lies beneath the murky depths? SolarCity co-founder Peter Rive wants to help you and the scientific community find out. He’s just led a $7 million Series A for Sofar Ocean Technologies, a new startup formed from a merger he orchestrated between underwater drone maker OpenROV and sea sensor developer Spoondrift. Together, they’re teaming up […]

This self-driving AI faced off against a champion racer (kind of)

Developments in the self-driving car world can sometimes be a bit dry: a million miles without an accident, a 10 percent increase in pedestrian detection range, and so on. But this research has both an interesting idea behind it and a surprisingly hands-on method of testing: pitting the vehicle against a real racing driver on […]