Daily Crunch: SoftBank bets big on autonomous delivery

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here:

1. SoftBank’s next bet: $940M into autonomous delivery startup Nuro

Nuro has raised $940 million in financing from the SoftBank Vision Fund, a whopping amount that will be used to expand its delivery service, add new partners, hire employees and scale up its fleet of self-driving bots.

The autonomous delivery startup’s focus has been developing a self-driving stack and combining it with a custom unmanned vehicle designed for last-mile delivery of local goods and services. The vehicle has two compartments that can fit up to six grocery bags each.

2. Trump’s planned AI initiative includes education, but lacks key details

This weekend, the Trump administration shed more light on the “American A.I. Initiative,” a plan the president is set to sign today, in hopes of helping keep the U.S. at the forefront of innovation.

3. What to expect from Mobile World Congress 2019

2019 just might be the year that smartphones get fun again.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos Makes Surprise Visit To Employee Veterans Day Event

LONG BEACH, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, speaks to a group of Amazon employees that are veterans during an Amazon Veterans Day celebration. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

4. Saudi Arabia denies involvement in leak of Jeff Bezos’ private messages

In his extraordinary Medium post last week accusing American Media Inc. of “extortion and blackmail,” Jeff Bezos hinted that there may be a connection between Saudi Arabia and the publication of his personal messages with Lauren Sanchez. Now Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir has denied it was involved.

5. Dating apps face questions over age checks after report exposes child abuse

The U.K. government has said it could legislate to require age verification checks on users of dating apps, following an investigation into underage use of dating apps published by the Sunday Times this weekend.

6. Apple partners with VA to bring Health Records to veterans

The deal will allow the veterans to view their medical information across participating institutions, including the VA, organized in the Apple Health app. These health records include allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals, and will be displayed alongside other information, like Apple Watch data.

7. Monday podcast roundup

This week, Equity discussed Spotify’s big move into podcasts, Mixtape looked at Instacart’s tipping controversy and Original Content reviewed the (terrible) Netflix movie “Velvet Buzzsaw.”