TechCrunch Robotics Sessions on May 11 at Berkeley

TechCrunch is partnering with UC Berkeley on May 11 to produce TC Sessions: Robotics, a one-day show focused on emerging robotics technologies and the startup scene.  Working on this agenda has been a blast for the editorial team because between the Bay area universities and the startup ecosystem there are far more robotics-riven technology projects and startups underway than most people appreciate. There is no question that the huge steps forward in AI, sensors and GPUs is quickly shifting robotics from the slow to the fast lane of the startups ecosystem.  Tickets are on sale now – buy your tickets here .


TC Sessions: Robotics

Friday, May 11, 2018 @ Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM

Opening Remarks with Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch)

9:05 AM – 9:25 AM

Getting A Grip on Reality: Deep Learning and Robot Grasping

Ken Goldberg (UC Berkeley)

Building on 35 years of research, Professor Goldberg will discuss the  “New Wave” in robot grasping for e-commerce warehouse order fulfillment.

9:25 AM – 9:50 AM

The Future of the Robot Operating System (ROS)

Brian Gerkey (Open Robotics) and Morgan Quigley (Open Robotics).  Melonee Wise (Fetch Robotics)

The open ROS has been a boon to robot creators. Can ROS keep up with the dazzling array of new demands?  

9:50 AM – 10:10 AM

Eyes, Ears and Data: Robot Sensors and GPUs

Deepu Talla (NVIDIA)

NVIDIA is the market-leader in the development of the processors and sensors crucial to autonomous cars and drones as well as human safety.

10:10 AM – 10:30 AM

The Best Robots on Four Legs  

Marc Raibert (Boston Dynamics)

Boston Dynamics rocked the world with the DARPA-funded Big Dog, and founder Marc Raibert will show off its latest creation, SpotMini.

10:30 AM – 10:50 AM

Coffee Break

10:50 AM – 11:20 AM

Old McDonald Needs a Robot

Dan Steere (Abundant Robotics), Brandon Alexander (Iron Ox), Sebastian Boyer (Farmwise), and Willy Pell (Blue River Technology)

The future of agribusiness is robots, and these founders are already putting automated farm workers in the fields.

11:20 AM – 11:40 AM

Teaching Robots New Tricks with AI 

Pieter Abbeel (UC Berkeley, Embodied Intelligence)

The latest developments in AI can extend what robots do and make it possible for anyone to teach a robot new skills, without costly re-reprogramming. Professor Abbeel’s Embodied Intelligence is taking that technology to market.

11:40 AM – 12:05 PM

Making Robots Less Robotic 

Ayanna Howard (Georgia Tech), Leila Takayama (UC Santa Cruz) and Patrick Sobalvarro (Veo Robotics)

Robots and humans are working and living together more than ever, and that means we have to watch out for one another — literally.

12:05 PM – 1:00 PM

Lunch and Workshops

WORKSHOP: DARPA and the Subterranean Challenge

Dr. Timothy Chung (DARPA)

A primer on how to work with DARPA and DARPA’s latest robotics challenge.

1:00 PM – 1:20 PM

To be announced.

1:20 PM – 1:50 PM

Venture investing in Robotics

Renata Quintini (Lux Capital), Chrissy Meyer (Root Ventures) and Rob Coneybeer (Shasta Ventures), Chris Evdemon (Sinovation Ventures)

Has robotics become a mainstream investment focus for venture capitalists?

1:50 PM – 2:10 PM

Betting Big on Robotics

Andy Rubin (Playground Global)

The creator of the Android mobile operating system and former head of Google’s robotics division, Andy Rubin wants Playground Global to invest in all things robotics.  

2:10 PM – 2:35 PM

From the Lab Bench to Term Sheet

Manish Kothari (SRI), Kaijen Hsiao (Mayfield Robotics) and additional speakers to be announced.

Researchers in AI and robotics are well positioned to launch startups, but what does that transition look like?

2:35 PM – 2:45 PM

Demo to be announced.

2:45 PM – 3:05 PM

Coffee Break

3:05 PM – 3:30 PM

Autonomous Systems

Raquel Urtasun (Uber), Alex Rodrigues (Embark Trucks)

How and when will autonomous vehicles (safely) take to the roads in in meaningful numbers? 

3:30 – 3:50 PM

What Robots Can Learn from Nature

Robert Full (UC Berkeley)

When it comes to mobility, the animal world is full of elegance and adaptation as well as lessons for robotics. Professor Full has built those bio-inspired robots.

3:50 PM – 4:10 PM

The Future of Transportation

Chris Urmson (Aurora)

Many of the first generation self-driving cars will carry systems from Aurora, and Chris Urmson, former head of Google’s self-driving car project, knows the technical challenges and promise.

4:10 PM – 4:40 PM

Session to be announced.

4:40 PM – 5:00 PM

Building Stronger Humans

Homayoon Kazerooni (SuitX)

Wearable robotics have already provided mobility to the paralyzed; they will do much more in the near future. Professor Kazerooni is one of the field’s pioneers as well as leading entrepreneurs.

5:00 PM -7:00 PM


Tickets are on sale now – buy your tickets here before it’s all sold out!

Students can save 90% on tickets by booking here.

If you’re interested in a sponsorship, contact us.