TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020

Minds and Machines: The Future of Robotics

Join TechCrunch’s editors at a show that Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert says “blends the best of thoughtful, research-focused robotics with a unique business in technology focus.” This will be TechCrunch’s fourth event focused on robotics and AI, and it will feature on-stage, live interviews and demos with the world’s leading technologists, founders and investors, as well as workshops, audience Q&A with speakers, and highly curated networking. In 2019, there were 1500 attendees.

Interviews and Demos

Interviews and Demos

TechCrunch’s editors bring to the stage top innovators in the robotics field to discuss and demo their latest work in robotics as well as AI. Past speakers are a virtual who’s who of the AI and robotics world. See a small sample below.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions

Many of the attendees are technical founders, engineering students and others who value the opportunity to go deep on technical topics. Past breakout sessions have delved deeply into areas like NVIDIA’s Jetson, DARPA’s latest challenge, and Skydio’s breakthrough drone technology.

Networking Platform

Networking Platform

Meet the key players and contributors in robotics and artificial intelligence throughout the day with TechCrunch’s networking platform, CrunchMatch.

Event Highlights

  • 8:30 am – 4:00 pm Registration Open Hours — @lower sproul plaza General Attendees can pick up their badges starting at 8:30 am at Lower Sproul Plaza located in front of Zellerbach Hall. We close registration at 4:00 pm.
  • 10:00 am – 10:05 am MAIN STAGE Welcome and Introduction by Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch) and Randy Katz (UC Berkeley) — @zellerbach hall
    • Randy Katz Professor of Computer Science; Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California, Berkeley
    • Matthew Panzarino
  • 10:05 am – 10:25 am MAIN STAGE Saving Humanity from AI — @zellerbach hall The UC Berkeley professor and AI authority argues in his acclaimed new book, “Human Compatible,” that AI will doom humanity unless technologists fundamentally reform how they build AI algorithms.
    • Stuart Russell Professor of Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • 10:25 am – 10:45 am MAIN STAGE Engineering for the Red Planet — @zellerbach hall Maxar Technologies has been involved with U.S. space efforts for decades, and is about to send its 6th (!) robotic arm to Mars aboard NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. Lucy Condakchian is general manager of robotics at Maxar and will speak to the difficulty and exhilaration of designing robotics for use in the harsh environments of space and other planets.
    • Lucy Condakchian General Manager of Robotics, Maxar Technologies
  • 10:45 am – 11:05 am MAIN STAGE Automating Amazon — @zellerbach hall Amazon Robotics’ Chief Technology Office will discuss how the company is using the latest in robotics and AI to optimize its massive logistics. He’ll also discuss the future of warehouse automation and how humans and robots share a workspace. 
    • Tye Brady Chief Technologist, Amazon Robotics
  • 11:05 am – 11:15 am MAIN STAGE Live Demo from the Stanford Robotics Club — @zellerbach hall
    • Nathan Kau Research, Robotic Exploration Lab, Stanford University
  • 11:25 am – 11:55 am MAIN STAGE Building the Robots that Build — @zellerbach hall Can robots help us build structures faster, smarter and cheaper? Built Robotics makes a self-driving excavator. Toggle is developing a new fabrication of rebar for reinforced concrete, Dusty builds robot-powered tools and longtime robotics pioneers Boston Dynamics have recently joined the construction space. We’ll talk with the founders and experts from these companies to learn how and when robots will become a part of the construction crew.
    • Daniel Blank Co-founder & CEO, Toggle
    • Tessa Lau Co-founder & CEO, Dusty Robotics
    • Noah Ready-Campbell Founder & CEO, Built Robotics
    • Brian Ringley Construction Technologist, Boston Dynamics
  • 11:30 am – 12:00 pm BREAKOUTS/Q&A Book signing with Stuart Russell Join one of the foremost experts in artificial intelligence as he signs copies of his acclaimed new book, Human Compatible.
    • Stuart Russell Professor of Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • 11:55 am – 1:00 pm NETWORKING Break — @zellerbach hall Check out demos and expo throughout the main lobby or take a CrunchMatch networking meeting.
  • 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm BREAKOUTS/Q&A Q&A: Corporate VC, Partnering and Acquisitions — @pauley ballroom east, 3rd fl. student union Join this interactive Q&A session on the breakout stage with three of the top minds in corporate VC
    • Kass Dawson Head of Marketing & Business Strategy, SoftBank Robotics America
    • Carlos Kokron Vice President & Managing Director, North America, Qualcomm Ventures
    • Gen Tsuchikawa Chief Investment Manager, Sony Innovation Fund
  • 1:00 pm – 1:25 pm MAIN STAGE Pitch-off — @zellerbach hall Select, early-stage companies, hand-picked by TechCrunch editors, will take the stage and have 5 minutes to present their wares.
  • 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm BREAKOUTS/Q&A Q&A with Founders — @pauley ballroom east, 3rd fl. student union Your chance to ask questions of some of the most successful robotics founders on our stage
    • Sébastien Boyer Co-founder & CEO, FarmWise
    • Noah Ready-Campbell Founder & CEO, Built Robotics
  • 1:25 pm – 1:50 pm MAIN STAGE Investing in Robotics and AI: Lessons from the Industry’s VCs — @zellerbach hall Leading investors will discuss the rising tide of venture capital funding in robotics and AI. The investors bring a combination of early-stage investing and corporate venture capital expertise, sharing a fondness for the wild world of robotics and AI investing.
    • Dror Berman Founding Partner, Innovation Endeavors
    • Jocelyn Goldfein Managing Director, Zetta Venture Partners
    • Eric Migicovsky General Partner, Y Combinator
  • 1:50 pm – 2:15 pm MAIN STAGE Facilitating Human-Robot Interaction — @zellerbach hall As robots become an ever more meaningful part of our lives, interactions with humans are increasingly inevitable. These experts will discuss the broad implications of HRI in the workplace and home.
    • Mike Dooley Co-founder & CEO, Labrador Systems
    • Clara Vu Co-founder & CTO, Veo Robotics
  • 2:15 pm – 3:00 pm BREAKOUTS/Q&A Q&A: Investing in Robotics Startups — @pauley ballroom east, 3rd fl. student union Join this interactive Q&A session on the breakout stage with some of the greatest investors in robotics and AI
    • Rob Coneybeer Founder and Managing Director, Shasta Ventures
    • Jocelyn Goldfein Managing Director, Zetta Venture Partners
    • Aaron Jacobson Partner, New Enterprise Associates
  • 2:15 pm – 2:40 pm MAIN STAGE Toward a Driverless Future — @zellerbach hall Autonomous driving is set to be one of the biggest categories for robotics and AI. But there are plenty roadblocks standing in its way. Experts will discuss how we get there from here. 
    • Anca Dragan Staff Research Scientist, Waymo
    • Jur van den Berg Co-founder & CTO, Ike
  • 2:40 pm – 3:10 pm MAIN STAGE Disney Robotics Imagineers from Disney will present state of the art robotics built to populate its theme parks.
  • 3:10 pm – 3:35 pm MAIN STAGE Bringing Robots to Life — @zellerbach hall This summer’s Tokyo Olympics will be a huge proving ground for Toyota’s TRI-AD. Executive James Kuffner and TRI’s Max Bajracharya will join us to discuss the department’s plans for assistive robots and self-driving cars.
    • James Kuffner CEO, Advanced Development, Inc., Toyota Research Institute
    • Max Bajracharya Vice President of Robotics, Toyota Research Institute
  • 3:15 pm – 4:00 pm BREAKOUTS/Q&A Q&A: Building Robotics Platforms — @pauley ballroom east, 3rd fl. student union Join this interactive Q&A session on the breakout stage with some of the greatest engineers in robotics and AI
    • Claire Delaunay Vice President of Engineering, NVIDIA
    • Steve Macenski Open-Source Robotics Lead, Samsung Research America
  • 3:35 pm – 4:00 pm MAIN STAGE The Next Century of Robo-Exoticism — @zellerbach hall In 1920, Karl Capek coined the term “robot” in a play about mechanical workers organizing a rebellion to defeat their human overlords. 100 years later, in the context of increasing inequality and xenophobia, the panelists will discuss cultural views of robots in the context of “Robo-Exoticism” which exaggerates both negative and positive attributes and reinforces old fears, fantasies, and stereotypes.
    • Abigail De Kosnik Associate Professor & Director Center for New Media, University of California, Berkeley
    • David Ewing Duncan CEO, Arc Fusion
    • Ken Goldberg Chief Scientist, Ambidextrous Robotics & Distinguished Chair, Engineering, UC Berkeley College of Engineering
    • Mark Pauline Founder & Director, Survival Research Labs
  • 4:10 pm – 4:35 pm MAIN STAGE Opening the Black Box With Explainable A.I — @zellerbach hall Machine learning and AI models can be found in nearly every aspect of society today, but their inner workings are often as much a mystery to their creators as to those who use them. UC Berkeley’s Trevor Darrell, Krishna Gade of Fiddler Labs, and Karen Myers from SRI International will discuss what we’re doing about it and what still needs to be done.
    • Trevor Darrell Professor, Division of Computer Science/EECS, University of California, Berkeley
    • Krishna Gade Founder & CEO, Fiddler Labs
    • Karen Myers Lab Director Artificial Intelligence Center, SRI International
  • 4:35 pm – 5:00 pm MAIN STAGE Cultivating Intelligence in Agricultural Robots — @zellerbach hall The benefits of robotics in agriculture are undeniable, yet at the same time only getting started. Lewis Anderson (Traptic) and Sebastien Boyer (Farmwise) will compare notes on the rigors of developing industrial-grade robots that both pick crops and weed fields respectively, and Pyka’s Michael Norcia will discuss taking flight over those fields with an autonomous crop-spraying drone.
    • Lewis Anderson Co-founder & CEO, Traptic
    • Sébastien Boyer Co-founder & CEO, FarmWise
    • Michael Norcia Chief Executive Officer, Pyka
  • 5:00 pm – 5:25 pm MAIN STAGE Fostering the Next Generation of Robotics Startups — @zellerbach hall Robotics and AI are the future of many or most industries, but the barrier of entry is still difficult to surmount for many startups. Speakers will discuss the challenges of serving robotics startups and companies that require robotics labor, from bootstrapped startups to large scale enterprises.
    • Claire Delaunay Vice President of Engineering, NVIDIA
    • Scott Phoenix Co-founder & CEO, Vicarious
    • Joshua Wilson Co-founder & CEO, Freedom Robotics
  • 5:25 pm – 5:30 pm MAIN STAGE Closing Remarks — @zellerbach hall
  • 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm NETWORKING Unofficial After Party, (Cash Bar Only) — @tap haus Come hang out at the unofficial After Party at Tap Haus, 2518 Durant Ave, Ste C, Berkeley

Hide presentations 

  • Lewis AndersonCo-founder & CEO, Traptic
  • Max BajracharyaVice President of Robotics, Toyota Research Institute
  • Dror BermanFounding Partner, Innovation Endeavors
  • Daniel BlankCo-founder & CEO, Toggle
  • Sébastien BoyerCo-founder & CEO, FarmWise
  • Tye BradyChief Technologist, Amazon Robotics
  • Lucy CondakchianGeneral Manager of Robotics, Maxar Technologies
  • Rob ConeybeerFounder and Managing Director, Shasta Ventures
  • Trevor DarrellProfessor, Division of Computer Science/EECS, University of California, Berkeley
  • Kass DawsonHead of Marketing & Business Strategy, SoftBank Robotics America
  • Claire DelaunayVice President of Engineering, NVIDIA
  • Mike DooleyCo-founder & CEO, Labrador Systems

View all speakers 

Attendee List Highlights

Here’s a small sample of where attendees will be coming from:

  • ABB Technology Ventures 
  • Amazon
  • Ceres Robotics Inc
  • Deloitte
  • Facebook
  • Google X
  • Hyundai CRADLE
  • John Deere
  • LG Electronics
  • Misty Robotics
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • Stanford
  • Toyota AI Ventures
  • UC Berkeley
  • Waymo

Mike Soniat