SpaceX successfully launches twice-flown Falcon 9, catches fairing at sea

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 first-stage that had previously served two missions in July and November of 2018, today carrying its final payload, the AMOS-17 satellite for Spacecomm. SpaceX had configured the Falcon 9 in its ‘expendable mode’ for this mission, which means it made use of all available fuel on board to carry the 14,000+ lb satellite to orbit, without enough left over to come back in a controlled descent and landing. A service life of three full missions is nothing to sneeze at, however, and definitely helps Read More …

Samsung readies Galaxy Fold for September release

When it was unveiled on stage, the Galaxy Fold was heralded as the next big thing. Samsung seeded units to reviews and prepared for launch. And then a funny thing happened on the way to a smartphone paradigm shift: it started breaking. Multiple review units were sent back to Samsung with busted screens. It was a small sample size, to be sure. First Samsung blamed reviewers themselves. Ultimately, however, there was enough concern to cause the company to pump the breaks entirely. Now, nearly three months to the day after Read More …

Ethics in the age of autonomous vehicles

Earlier this month, TechCrunch held its inaugural Mobility Sessions event, where leading mobility-focused auto companies, startups, executives and thought leaders joined us to discuss all things autonomous vehicle technology, micromobility and electric vehicles. Extra Crunch is offering members access to full transcripts of key panels and conversations from the event, such as Megan Rose Dickey‘s chat with Voyage CEO and co-founder Oliver Cameron and Uber’s prediction team lead Clark Haynes on the ethical considerations for autonomous vehicles. Megan, Oliver and Clark talk through how companies should be thinking about ethics Read More …

SoftBank announces AI-focused second $108 billion Vision Fund with LPs including Microsoft, Apple and Foxconn

SoftBank Group announced today that it will launch its second Vision Fund with participation from Apple, Foxconn, Microsoft and other tech companies and investors. Called the Vision Fund 2, the fund will focus on AI-based technology. SoftBank said the fund’s capital has reached about $108 billion, based on memoranda of understandings. SoftBank Group’s own investment in the fund will be $38 billion. It is worth noting that the second Vision Fund’s list of expected limited partners does not currently include any participants from the Saudi Arabia government (the first Vision Read More …

Team TUM wins SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition with a record 288 mph top speed

SpaceX hosted its fourth annual SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition finals on Sunday at the test tube it built outside its Hawthorne HQ. We were on site for the competition, and watched as Team TUM, from the Technical University of Munich, took home the win thanks to achieving the top speed overall of any team to run in the finals. TUM (formerly known as team WARR Hyperloop in past competitions) is a repeat winner, and achieved a top speed of 288 mph in this year’s finals. That’s the fastest overall for Read More …

AI smokes 5 poker champs at a time in no-limit Hold’em with ‘relentless consistency’

The machines have proven their superiority in one-on-one games like chess and go, and even poker — but in complex multiplayer versions of the card game humans have retained their edge… until now. An evolution of the last AI agent to flummox poker pros individually is now decisively beating them in championship-style 6-person game. As documented in a paper published in the journal Science today, the CMU/Facebook collaboration they call Pluribus reliably beats five professional poker players in the same game, or one pro pitted against five independent copies of Read More …

Meet the 10 Finalists of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge!

Students nowadays are more plugged in than ever to global challenges. Ranging from environmental and health issues to science and tech challenges, students are more invested than ever in helping to create a productive and safe future. According to the Pew Research Center, “technology, in particular, [is responsible] for the rapid evolution of how people communicate and interact…what is unique for Generation Z is that the [internet] has been part of their lives from the start” – making their access to knowledge, information, and global challenges that much more immediate and Read More …